Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Matrimony, Inc. by Francesca Beauman


Matrimony, Inc.
From Personal Ads to Swiping Right,
a Story of America Looking for Love
by Francesca Beauman

Published: 2020
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Hardback: 208
Rating: 4
History, Courtship | Goodreads | Website

First sentence(s):
I met my husband through a personal ad.

Have you ever used a dating app or website? Then you have more in common than you know with lonely homesteaders in 18th century New England. At once heartwarming and heartbreaking, Matrimony, Inc. reveals the unifying thread that weaves its way through not just marriage and relationships over the centuries, but American social history itself: advertising for love.

Amazingly, America’s first personal ad appeared in the Boston Evening Post as early as 1759. A “person who flatters himself that he shall not be thought disagreeable” was in search of a “young lady, between the age of eighteen and twenty-three, of a middling stature, brown hair, of good Morals…” As family-arranged marriages fell out of fashion, "Husband Wanted" or "Seeking Wife" ads were soon to be found in every state in the nation.

From the woman in a Wisconsin newspaper who wanted “no brainless dandy or foppish fool” to the man with a glass eye who placed an ad in the New York Times hoping to meet a woman with a glass eye, the many hundreds of personal ads that author Francesca Beauman has uncovered offer an extraordinary glimpse into the history of our hearts’ desires, as well as a unique insight into American life as the frontier was settled and the cities grew. Personal ads played a surprisingly vital role in the West: couple by couple, shy smile by shy smile, letter by letter from a dusty, exhausted miner in California to a bored, frustrated seamstress in Ohio. Get ready for a new perspective on the making of modern America, a hundred words of typesetter’s blurry black ink at a time.

“So anxious are our settlers for wives that they never ask a single lady her age. All they require is teeth,” declared the Dubuque Iowa News in 1838 in a state where men outnumbered women three to one. While the dating pools of 21st century New York, Chicago or San Francisco might not be quite so dentally-fixated, Matrimony Inc. will put idly swiping right on Tinder into fascinating and vividly fresh historical context. What do women look for in a man? What do men look for in a woman? And how has this changed over the past 250 years?


My two-bits:

Looking for love. In all the places. Always.

Enjoyed reading individual accounts of why an advertisement was placed with the earliest from 1765.

Includes old newspaper personal ad clippings and photos of individuals who participated.

~*~


* review copy courtesy of publisher

Monday, October 26, 2020

His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie


His Only Wife
by Peace Adzo Medie
narrated by Soneela Nankani

Published: 2020
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Hardback: 288
Rating: 4
Contemporary, Feminism, Africa | Goodreads | Website
Travel destination: West Africa, Ghana

First sentence(s):
Elikem married me in absentia; he did not come to our wedding.

Afi Tekple is a young seamstress whose life is narrowing rapidly. She lives in a small town in Ghana with her widowed mother, spending much of her time in her uncle Pious’s house with his many wives and children. Then one day she is offered a life-changing opportunity—a proposal of marriage from the wealthy family of Elikem Ganyo, a man she doesn’t truly know. She acquiesces, but soon realizes that Elikem is not quite the catch he seemed. He sends a stand-in to his own wedding, and only weeks after Afi is married and installed in a plush apartment in the capital city of Accra does she meet her new husband. It turns out that he is in love with another woman, whom his family disapproves of; Afi is supposed to win him back on their behalf. But it is Accra that eventually wins Afi’s heart and gives her a life of independence that she never could have imagined for herself.

My two-bits:

At first it was tough reading of the classic theme of life revolving around and focused on a man. But then, the protagonist gradually comes around and this turns into a wonderful story of a woman coming into her own. Set in West Africa, you get a sense of the culture and women's perspective and pressures.

~*~

* Listened to audiobook version.
* part of Armchair Autumn Travel (here)
* part of Reese's Book Club 2020 (here)

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Lovely Books and Things - 10.25.20

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update


Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)

~*~


HAPPY THINGS:

1. Voted.
2. Browsing for tea themed advent calendar for December. Maybe a chocolate one too?
3. Spotted a pirate sailboat during a dinner outing in Sausalito. This was a nice first outing beyond the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge since March.

~*~


Library: audiobook

The Devil and the Dark Water
by Stuart Turton
Historical, Mystery, Thriller | Goodreads


Freebies: from Free Little Library

The Little Book of Hygge:
The Danish Way to Live Well
by Meik Wiking
Self help, Cozy, Denmark | Goodreads


~*~

Virtual Author event: hosted by Capital Books, Sacramento
Check out their calendar for future free author events (here)

Prospects of a Woman
by Wendy Voorsanger
Historical, Western, California | Goodreads


Virtual Author event: hosted by Green Apple Books
Check out their calendar for future free author events (here)

Chinatown Pretty
Fashion and Wisdom from Chinatown's Most Stylish Seniors
by Andria Lo, Valerie Luu
Art, Fashion, Photography | Goodreads


Virtual Author event: hosted by Book Passages
Listen to archive of this and check out their calendar for future free author events (here)
A conversation between:

Autumn Light
by Pico Iyer
Memoir, Japan | Goodreads


The Creative Spark:
How musicians, writers, explorers, and other artists found their inner fire and followed their dreams
by Michael Shapiro
Nonfiction, Inspiration, Creativity | Goodreads


~*~

AND watched: on Netflix
Schitt's Creek (2020)
tv series, season 6
Creators: Dan Levy, Eugene Levy
Stars: Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Dan Levy, Annie Murphy
Comedy | imdb | my rating: 5

When rich video-store magnate Johnny Rose and his family suddenly find themselves broke, they are forced to leave their pampered lives to regroup in Schitt's Creek.

LOVED this final season. All the characters were endearing. Tissues needed for the final finale episode - happy tears.

~*~

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

*** THANKS to those on the front line during these times ***
Shelter In Place - Month 8, Day 223, Week 33

Stay healthy! Be safe!

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Prospects of a Woman by Wendy Voorsanger


Prospects of a Woman
by Wendy Voorsanger

Published: 2020
Publisher: She Writes Press
Paperback: 352
Rating: 5
Historical, Western, California, Gold Rush
Goodreads (see giveaway offer: Oct 1-30, 2020) | Website | Excerpt

First sentence(s):
The river ran angry that day, with water raging loud at the sun for burning it off the peaceful granite slopes of the High Sierra.

Elisabeth Parker comes to California from Massachusetts in 1849 with her new husband, Nate, to reunite with her father, who’s struck gold on the American River. But she soon realizes her husband is not the man she thought—and neither is her father, who abandons them shortly after they arrive. As Nate struggles with his sexuality, Elisabeth is forced to confront her preconceived notions of family, love, and opportunity. She finds comfort in corresponding with her childhood friend back home, writer Louisa May Alcott, and spending time in the company of a mysterious Californio. Armed with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance, she sets out to determine her role in building the West, even as she comes to terms with the sacrifices she must make to achieve independence and happiness. A gripping and illuminating window into life in the Old West, Prospects of a Woman is the story of one woman’s passionate quest to carve out a place for herself in the liberal and bewildering society that emerged during the California gold rush frenzy.

My two-bits:

Loved learning about Northern California gold rush history with this woman's perspective. The protagonist had such determination and grit to withstand the trials, tribulations and loneliness of living out in the west in an up and coming small town.

In addition, there's a good dose of nature, romance and books that kept me hooked to the end.

~*~

* review copy courtesy of book tour

Friday, October 23, 2020

My Calamity Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows


My Calamity Jane
by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
narrated by Sophie Amoss

Published: 2020
Publisher: HarperTeen
Hardback: 544
Rating: 5
Historical, Western, Humor, Werewolves | Goodreads | Website
Travel destinations: Cincinnati, Ohio; Deadwood, South Dakota; Denver, Colorado

The Lady Janies series:
My Lady Jane
My Plain Jane
My Calamity Jane

First sentence(s):
Listen up, y'all. We're gonna tell you the story of Calamity Jane.

Welcome to 1876 and a rootin’-tootin’ America bursting with gunslingers, outlaws, and garou.

JANE (a genuine hero-eene)

Calamity’s her name, and garou hunting’s her game—when she’s not starring in Wild Bill’s Traveling Show, that is. She reckons that if a girl wants to be a legend, she should just go ahead and be one.

FRANK (*wolf whistle*)
Frank “the Pistol Prince” Butler is the Wild West’s #1 bachelor. He’s also the best sharpshooter on both sides of the Mississippi, but he’s about to meet his match...

ANNIE (get your gun!)
Annie Oakley (yep, that Annie) is lookin’ for a job, not a romance, but she can’t deny there’s something about Frank she likes. Really likes. Still, she’s pretty sure that anything he can do, she can do better.

A HAIRY SITUATION
After a garou hunt goes south and Jane finds a suspicious-like bite on her arm, she turns tail for Deadwood, where there’s been talk of a garou cure. But things ain’t always what they seem—meaning the gang better hightail it after her before they’re a day late and a Jane short.


My two-bits:

Rip roarin' fun adventure tellin' in this tale. Loved this kinda historical fiction mashup up with paranormal activity.

Also, liked learning about life in a wild west traveling show like this one.

~*~

* LOL - sparks joy moment in chapter 13
* Listened to audiobook version.
* part of Armchair Autumn Travel (here)
* part of Fraterfest (here)

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman


Unbury Carol
by Josh Malerman
narrated by Dan John Miller

Published: 2018
Publisher: Del Rey
Hardback: 367
Rating: 5
Horror, Paranormal, Western | Goodreads

First sentence(s):
Harrows, situated at the northeast point of the Trail, savored its distance from the meat of the rabid road.

Carol Evers is a woman with a dark secret. She has died many times . . . but her many deaths are not final: They are comas, a waking slumber indistinguishable from death, each lasting days.

Only two people know of Carol’s eerie condition. One is her husband, Dwight, who married Carol for her fortune, and—when she lapses into another coma—plots to seize it by proclaiming her dead and quickly burying her . . . alive. The other is her lost love, the infamous outlaw James Moxie. When word of Carol’s dreadful fate reaches him, Moxie rides the Trail again to save his beloved from an early, unnatural grave.

And all the while, awake and aware, Carol fights to free herself from the crippling darkness that binds her—summoning her own fierce will to survive. As the players in this drama of life and death fight to decide her fate, Carol must in the end battle to save herself.


My two-bits:

Hit all the great spots for that western vibe of the good, bad, ugly and damsel in distress.

~*~

* Listened to audiobook version.
* part of Fraterfest (here)

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

His Hideous Heart edited by Dahlia Adler


His Hideous Heart
edited by Dahlia Adler
narrated by contributors

Published: 2020
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Hardback: 480
Rating: 4
Short Stories, Horror, YA, Edgar Allan Poe stories re-imagined | Goodreads

Contributors:
Kendare Blake (reimagining “Metzengerstein”)
Rin Chupeco (“The Murders in the Rue Morgue”)
Lamar Giles (“The Oval Portrait”)
Tessa Gratton (“Annabel Lee”)
Tiffany D. Jackson (“The Cask of Amontillado”)
Stephanie Kuehn (“The Tell-Tale Heart”)
Emily Lloyd-Jones (“The Purloined Letter”)
Hillary Monahan (“The Masque of the Red Death”)
Marieke Nijkamp (“Hop-Frog”)
Caleb Roehrig (“The Pit and the Pendulum”)
Fran Wilde (“The Fall of the House of Usher”)

Edgar Allan Poe may be a hundred and fifty years beyond this world, but the themes of his beloved works have much in common with modern young adult fiction. Whether the stories are familiar to readers or discovered for the first time, readers will revel in Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tales, and how they’ve been brought to life in 13 unique and unforgettable ways.

My two-bits:

Contemporary YA tweak to Edgar Allan Poe tales sure gave modern day chills.

Makes me want to go back to re-read Poe, especially the lesser known stories (to me).

~*~

* Listened to audiobook version.
* Filipino mention in Rin Chupeco's story
* part of Fraterfest (here)

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Happy Release: Prospects of a Woman by Wendy Voorsanger

Prospects of a Woman
by Wendy Voorsanger
Historical, Western | Goodreads
Amazon | B&N

Elisabeth Parker comes to California from Massachusetts in 1849 with her new husband, Nate, to reunite with her father, who’s struck gold on the American River. But she soon realizes her husband is not the man she thought—and neither is her father, who abandons them shortly after they arrive. As Nate struggles with his sexuality, Elisabeth is forced to confront her preconceived notions of family, love, and opportunity. She finds comfort in corresponding with her childhood friend back home, writer Louisa May Alcott, and spending time in the company of a mysterious Californio. Armed with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance, she sets out to determine her role in building the West, even as she comes to terms with the sacrifices she must make to achieve independence and happiness. A gripping and illuminating window into life in the Old West, Prospects of a Woman is the story of one woman’s passionate quest to carve out a place for herself in the liberal and bewildering society that emerged during the California gold rush frenzy.

Excerpt: Chapter One

Elisabeth counted the stitches holding together their dingy canvas tent. Twice. She got 946 both times. Cooped up in the midday heat, she seethed at Nate for leaving her alone. They'd lost too much time already. Refusing to wait another goddamn minute on his frittering and scheming, she untied the tent flaps and crawled out, stretching her arms long overhead. A soft air of relief touched her cheeks. Aching with hunger, she stumbled downriver, in the direction of Culoma Town. She hadn’t eaten since a bite of beans for breakfast the day before.

Nate had left early that morning, again. Gone digging for gold in the river, refusing to let her join. Telling her to stay put. Warning about unsavory men roaming around, men with a mind to take what they will. Elisabeth was done waiting on him to bring her something decent to eat. She grabbed her satchel and headed for the river trail, thinking on how she’d get food in her belly with no money left. She wasn’t thinking about the roaming men but about the blisters on her feet still burning something awful from that long journey getting to the river. Elisabeth walked all afternoon alongside the American River roiling loud, cutting through the valley, tempting her. Tempting Nate. Her eyes burned with the honest light shining lush and vibrant through the narrow valley. The grass glowed golden along the river trail, and the rich green pines marched up the steep sides of the canyon, swaying alive and standing taller and fuller than the scraggly pitch pines at home in Concord. Warm air whooshed through the branches, spreading a sweet smell around.

Arriving in Culoma Town, Elisabeth the picked her way through a mess of empty tents strewn haphazard. Plopping down on a log in the center of town, she unlaced her boots to let her stockinged feet breathe and witnessed new beginnings. Industrious fellas buzzed around, hammering up buildings with fresh-hewn boards and siding and plank floors and shingle roofs. Jabbering and rushing. Heaving pails and shovels and pans and timber. Haggling for food and supplies. No women milled about, and she wondered if they were all hiding away too.

Some of the fellas in town noticed her sitting alone on the log. One man dropped his hammer and walked over, stammering and stuttering as if he hadn’t seen a woman in years. She smiled polite, introducing herself as Mrs. Nathaniel Parker. More men came. And more. Until over a dozen stood around gawking at the only woman in Culoma Town. She pulled at her dress collar. Shifted her bottom on the log. Cleared her throat. When a few of the men sat down in the crisped-up grass like they had all the time to waste, she wondered why but didn’t dare ask. A fella with a long curly beard dripping down his chin offered her a cup of cool river water. She took it, gulping. Wiping her cheek with the back of her hand, she reddened with shame. When one man tossed two bits into her empty cup she looked at him coolly, thinking him daft. When another coin clinked into the cup, then another, she didn’t give them back. Didn’t look at the coins either. She simply stared up at the clear sky, fanning herself with her shabby straw hat, acting like she couldn’t care less if those foolish men wanted to waste good money just to sit near a woman looking not exactly pretty.

“I’m not out here to beg,” she said.

“Of course not,” said the long-beard fella.

She shuffled her unlaced boots, tamping down the dry grass.

“I’m simply out getting some air,” she said.

“We all see that,” he said.

An older man, wrinkled up like a prune, scooted up to her left knee. She caught him looking her up and down, leering, and she wanted to slap him for the lack of manners but held back.

Letting men stare for money was unseemly, no matter the circumstances, but she knew each clink of a coin meant she and Nate would eat tonight. Oh, he’d be furious, of course. He’d probably even accuse her of flirting. Maybe she was. Flirting. Encouraging. She didn’t care. She needed a proper supper and a hot bath. Besides, the men seemed harmless.

She considered how many coins those fools had given her, but was too afraid to count for fear they’d wise up to this absurd payment-for-gawking scheme and demand all those coins back. The men stared at her wide-eyed while a pecker pounded on a nearby trunk, knocking and knocking for grubs, matching the thud in her head.

“Any of you know a Henry Goodwin?” Elisabeth asked.

“That your husband?”

“My father. He settled a claim up the North Fork,” she said.

It’d been nearly a month since he’d run off with that Indian girl, and she still stung sore and angry at his leaving. She convinced herself he’d change his mind. Convinced he’d return to the claim eventually.

“Sing us a song?” A prune-face fella asked.

“Not hardly,” she said.

“Can’t? Or won’t?”

Not exactly delicate, Elisabeth lacked the finer qualities admired in most ladies. Her singing sounded more feeble frog than melodious finch, and she had no patience for sitting still for parlor conversations, finding the feminine topics of curtain colors and canning peaches dreadfully dull. Nate said she walked too heavy, but she knew he’d appreciated her strong back when they’d taken turns pushing their cart loaded down with his case of books through the foothills and into the river basin.

About the author:
Born and raised on the American River in Sacramento, Wendy Voorsanger has long held an intense interest in the historical women of California. She started her career in the Silicon Valley, writing about technology trends and innovations for newspapers, magazines, and Fortune 100 companies. She currently manages SheIsCalifornia.net, a blog dedicated to chronicling the accomplishments of California women through history. Her debut historical novel, Prospects of a Woman will be published in October 2020 (She Writes Press); an excerpt entitled "Shifting in California" won 1st place in the California Writers Club short story contest and is published in theFault Zone: Shift: An Anthology of Stories.

She earned a B.A. in Journalism from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a member of the Castro Writers' Cooperative, the Lit Camp Advisory Board, and the San Mateo Public Library Literary Society.

In addition to being an athor, Wendy has worked as a lifeguard, ski instructor, and radio disc jockey. Wendy lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons.
Website | Facebook | Instagram

~*~
* part of book tour

* You’re invited to join Wendy at her book launch event: Capital Books is hosting a Zoom celebration on October 20 at 5:30 pm, pdt.

Join @authorwendyvoorsanger and @captialbooksonk for a virtual trip to the American River basin in California to launch her new historical fiction, PROSPECTS OF A WOMAN. Gorgeous aerial videos. Swag. Flamenco guitar. Powerful California women sharing why Prospects of a Woman resonates. And a (super) short reading. Special guest: @janiscookenewman, author of the historical novel, Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln and founder of Lit Camp Writer's Conference. Register (here).

Monday, October 19, 2020

Foe by Iain Reid


Foe
by Iain Reid
narrated by Jacques Roy

Published: 2018
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Hardback: 272
Rating: 4
Horror, SciFi, Psychological Thriller | Goodreads

First sentence(s):
Two headlights. I wake to the sight of them.

In Iain Reid’s second haunting, philosophical puzzle of a novel, set in the near-future, Junior and Henrietta live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with alarming news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm... very far away. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Henrietta won't have a chance to miss him, because she won't be left alone—not even for a moment. Henrietta will have company. Familiar company.

My two-bits:

This story makes you question couple relationships. What makes a good one?

How well do you know your partner? Does it matter?

~*~

* Listened to audiobook version.
* part of Fraterfest (here)

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Lovely Books and Things - 10.18.20

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update


Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)

~*~


HAPPY THINGS:

1. Getting ready for winter, got the flu shot. Stocking up the pantry shelves next...
2. Elisabeth Moss reading, horror short story, The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (here)
3. Spooky window display at Cliff's Variety store

~*~


Library: audiobook
Unbury Carol
by Josh Malerman
narrated by Dan John Miller
Horror, Fantasy, Western | Goodreads


The Year of Witching
by Alexis Henderson
Horror, Fantasy, YA, Witches | Goodreads

Freebies: from Free Little Library

After The Quake
by Haruki Murakami
translated by Jay Rubin
Short Stories, Japan | Goodreads


~*~

Virtual Author event: hosted by Green Apple Books
Check out their calendar for future free author events (here)
A conversation between: Caroline Kim and Vanessa Hua
The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories
by Caroline Kim
Short Stories, Korean | Goodreads


~*~

AND watched: on Netflix
New Girl (2011)
tv series, season 1
Creator: Elizabeth Meriwether
Stars: Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris, Hannah Simone
Comedy, Friends | imdb | my rating: 5

After a bad break-up, Jess, an offbeat young woman, moves into an apartment loft with three single men. Although they find her behavior very unusual, the men support her - most of the time.

CUTE ensemble cast with fun and funny antics.

When The Streetlights Go On (2020)
Directors: Rebecca Thomas (10 episodes); Brett Morgen (1 episode)
Stars: Chosen Jacobs, Sophie Thatcher, Ben Ahlers
Crime, Drama, Quibi | imdb | my rating: 4

The residents of a small town grapple with the ruthless killing of a young girl and a teacher.

LIKED diverse characters used in this scary tale.

~*~

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

*** THANKS to those on the front line during these times ***
Shelter In Place - Month 8, Week 32, Day 216

Stay healthy! Be safe!

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Mary by Brea Grant


Mary
The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter
by Brea Grant
illustrated by Yishan Li

Published: 2020
Publisher: Six Foot Press
Paperback: 144
Rating: 4
Paranormal, YA, Graphic Novel, Ghosts | Goodreads

Angsty teenager Mary Shelley is not interested in carrying on her family’s celebrated legacy of being a great writer, but she soon discovers that she has the not-so-celebrated (and super-secret) Shelley power to heal monsters, just like her famous ancestor, and those monsters are not going to let her ignore her true calling anytime soon.

The Shelley family history is filled with great writers: the original Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, the acclaimed mystery writer Tawny Shelley, cookbook maven Phyllis Shelley… the list goes on and on. But this Mary Shelley, named after her great-great-great-great-great grandmother, doesn’t want anything to do with that legacy. Then a strangely pale (and really cute) boy named Adam shows up and asks her to heal a wound he got under mysterious circumstances, and Mary learns something new about her family: the first Mary Shelley had the power to heal monsters, and Mary has it, too. Now the monsters won’t stop showing up, Mary can’t get her mother Tawny to leave her alone about writing something (anything!), she can’t tell her best friend Rhonda any of this, and all Mary wants is to pass biology.


Peekabook:
My two-bits:

Cute horror with a coming-of-age nudge in an unusual way.

~*~

* review copy courtesy of publisher
* part of Fraterfest (here)

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix


The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires
by Grady Hendrix
narrated by Bahni Turpin

Published: 2020
Publisher: Quirk Books
Hardback: 404
Rating: 5
Horror, Vampires | Goodreads | Website

First sentence(s):
This story ends in blood.

Zombie sighting:
You just want to give me a bunch of pills and make me a zombie.
-chapter 25


Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia's life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they're more likely to discuss the FBI's recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club's meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he's a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she—and her book club—are the only people standing between the monster they've invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.


My two-bits:

Loved this book club and its penchant for true crime. The interplay of reality and vampires was great food for thought.
~*~

* Listened to audiobook version.
* part of ibc book club (here)
* part of Fraterfest (here)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Fraterfest Read-a-thon 2020

>
Fraterfest Read-a-thon
October 15-24, 2020
hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer (details)


Foe
by Iain Reid
narrated by Jacques Roy
Horror, SciFi | Goodreads | my review

His Hideous Heart
edited by Dahlia Adler
Short Stories, Horror, YA, Edgar Allan Poe stories re-imagined | Goodreads | my review
authors include:
Kendare Blake, Rin Chupeco, Lamar Giles
Tessa Gratton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Stephanie Kuehn
Amanda Lovelace, Marieke Nijkamp, Emily Lloyd-Jones
Hillary Monahan, Caleb Roehrig, Fran Wilde


Mary
The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter
by Brea Grant
illustrated by Yishan Li
Paranormal, YA, Graphic Novel, Ghosts | Goodreads | my review


My Calamity Jane
by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Historical, Western, Humor, YA, Werewolves | Goodreads | my review


The Remaking
by Clay McLeod Chapman
Horror, Ghosts, Witches | Goodreads

Serpent & Dove
by Shelby Mahurin
Fantasy, YA, Witches | Goodreads


The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires
by Grady Hendrix
Horror, Vampires | Goodreads | my review


Unbury Carol
by Josh Malerman
Horror, Fantasy, Western | Goodreads | my review

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Happy release: Mary by Brea Grant

Mary
The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter
by Brea Grant
illustrated by Yishan Li
Paranormal, YA, Graphic Novel, Ghosts | Goodreads
Release date: October 6, 2020


Angsty teenager Mary Shelley is not interested in carrying on her family’s celebrated legacy of being a great writer, but she soon discovers that she has the not-so-celebrated (and super-secret) Shelley power to heal monsters, just like her famous ancestor, and those monsters are not going to let her ignore her true calling anytime soon.

The Shelley family history is filled with great writers: the original Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, the acclaimed mystery writer Tawny Shelley, cookbook maven Phyllis Shelley…the list goes on and on. But this Mary Shelley, named after her great-great-great-great-great grandmother, doesn’t want anything to do with that legacy. Th2020en a strangely pale (and really cute) boy named Adam shows up and asks her to heal a wound he got under mysterious circumstances, and Mary learns something new about her family: the first Mary Shelley had the power to heal monsters, and Mary has it, too. Now the monsters won’t stop showing up, Mary can’t get her mother Tawny to leave her alone about writing something (anything!), she can’t tell her best friend Rhonda any of this, and all Mary wants is to pass biology.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez


Furia
by Yamile Saied Méndez
narrated by Sol Madariaga

Published: 2020
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Hardback: 368
Rating: 5
YA, Sports, Soccer, South America, Argentina | Goodreads | Website

First sentence(s):
Lies have short legs.

In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.

At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.

On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.

Filled with authentic details and the textures of day-to-day life in Argentina, heart-soaring romance, and breathless action on the pitch, Furia is the story of a girl’s journey to make her life her own.


My two-bits:

Empowering. Loved the passion this protagonist has to motivate towards her dreams and desires. Wonderful "Go Girl!" story.

~*~

* Listened to audiobook version.
* part of Armchair Autumn Travel (here)
* part of Reese's Book Club 2020 (here)

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Lovely Books and Things - 10.11.20

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update


Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)

~*~


HAPPY THINGS:

1. Crocheting my first granny squares for colorful blanket project. They look a little scrawny, but I will perfect them by the end of the project :-)

2. Enjoying fashion photos on instagram from young French couple, Young Emperors (here) and old Chinese couple, WantShoWasYoung (here)

3. Spooky-ish pumpkin patch at Trader Joe's

~*~


Library: audiobook
His Hideous Heart
edited by Dahlia Adler
Short Stories, Horror, YA, Edgar Allan Poe stories re-imagined | Goodreads
authors include:
Kendare Blake, Rin Chupeco, Lamar Giles
Tessa Gratton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Stephanie Kuehn
Amanda Lovelace, Marieke Nijkamp, Emily Lloyd-Jones
Hillary Monahan, Caleb Roehrig, Fran Wilde


His Only Wife
by Peace Adzo Medie
Contemporary, West Africa, Ghana, Reese's Book Club October pick | Goodreads


Patron Saints of Nothing
by Randy Ribay
YA, Mystery, for October Filipino American History Month | Goodreads


For Review:
Mary
The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter
by Brea Grant
illustrated by Yishan Li
Paranormal, YA, Graphic Novel | Goodreads
courtesy of publisher -Thanks!


Matrimony, Inc.
From Personal Ads to Swiping Right, a Story of America Looking for Love
by Francesca Beauman
History | Goodreads
courtesy of publisher -Thanks!


~*~

Virtual Author event: hosted by Green Apple Books
Check out their calendar for future free author events (here)
Be Water, My Friend
The Teachings of Bruce Lee
by Shannon Lee
Philosophy, Sprituality | Goodreads

~*~

AND watched: online theatre - Coalition of South Asian Film Festivals
films can be seen for free until October 17 (details here)

Mee Raqsam (2020)
Director: Baba Azmi
Writers: Husain Mir, Safdar Mir
Stars: Juhaina Ahsan, Shivangi Gautam, Danish Husain
Drama, Dance, India, Muslim | imdb | my rating: 4

It revolves around a young girl's aspiration to become a dancer, but coming from a small village like Mijwan, everyone questions her dreams and choices. It's only her father who trusts, supports and helps her in this journey of achieving her dream.

LOVED the fight for dance.

~*~

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

*** THANKS to those on the front line during these times ***
Shelter In Place - Day 209, Week 31


Stay healthy! Be safe!

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Happy Release: Matrimony, Inc. by Francesca Beauman

Matrimony, Inc.
From Personal Ads to Swiping Right, a Story of America Looking for Love
by Francesca Beauman
History | Goodreads
Release date: October 6, 2020

Have you ever used a dating app or website? Then you have more in common than you know with lonely homesteaders in 18th century New England. At once heartwarming and heartbreaking, Matrimony, Inc. reveals the unifying thread that weaves its way through not just marriage and relationships over the centuries, but American social history itself: advertising for love.

Amazingly, America’s first personal ad appeared in the Boston Evening Post as early as 1759. A “person who flatters himself that he shall not be thought disagreeable” was in search of a “young lady, between the age of eighteen and twenty-three, of a middling stature, brown hair, of good Morals…” As family-arranged marriages fell out of fashion, "Husband Wanted" or "Seeking Wife" ads were soon to be found in every state in the nation.

From the woman in a Wisconsin newspaper who wanted “no brainless dandy or foppish fool” to the man with a glass eye who placed an ad in the New York Times hoping to meet a woman with a glass eye, the many hundreds of personal ads that author Francesca Beauman has uncovered offer an extraordinary glimpse into the history of our hearts’ desires, as well as a unique insight into American life as the frontier was settled and the cities grew. Personal ads played a surprisingly vital role in the West: couple by couple, shy smile by shy smile, letter by letter from a dusty, exhausted miner in California to a bored, frustrated seamstress in Ohio. Get ready for a new perspective on the making of modern America, a hundred words of typesetter’s blurry black ink at a time.

“So anxious are our settlers for wives that they never ask a single lady her age. All they require is teeth,” declared the Dubuque Iowa News in 1838 in a state where men outnumbered women three to one. While the dating pools of 21st century New York, Chicago or San Francisco might not be quite so dentally-fixated, Matrimony Inc. will put idly swiping right on Tinder into fascinating and vividly fresh historical context. What do women look for in a man? What do men look for in a woman? And how has this changed over the past 250 years?


Peekabook:



About the author:
After a decade as a T.V. host, Francesca Beauman is now a writer, historian and part-time bookseller at London’s most beautiful bookstore, Persephone Books. Francesca is the author of six books, including a history of the pineapple and a history of British personal ads. She also runs the popular book forum “Fran’s Book Shop” (@fransbookshop).
Website | Instagram | Twitter | Fran’s Book Shop

Friday, October 9, 2020

I Was Their American Dream by Malaka Gharib


I Was Their American Dream
by Malaka Gharib

Published: 2019
Publisher: Clarkson Potter Publishers
Paperback: 160
Rating: 4
Graphic Novel, Memoir, Egyptian Filipino | Goodreads

First sentence(s):
When I was growing up, my mom would always say: You have to be better than us.

One part Mari Andrew, one part Marjane Satrapi, I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir is a triumphant tale of self-discovery, a celebration of a family's rich heritage, and a love letter to American immigrant freedom. Malaka Gharib's illustrations come alive with teenage antics and earnest questions about identity and culture, while providing thoughtful insight into the lives of modern immigrants and the generation of millennial children they raised.

Malaka's upbringing will look familiar to anyone who grew up in the pre-internet era, but her particular story is a heartfelt tribute to the American immigrants who have invested their future in the promise of the American dream.

The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigates her childhood chasing her parents' ideals, learning to code-switch between her family's Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid.


Peekabook:
My two-bits:

Fun way to get perspectives of the American dream and growing up as an Asian American.

~*~

* part of October Filipino American History Month

* part of Filipino Reading Challenge (here)
 
Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu