20 March 2017

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: 3 Reviews and Book News

3 short book reviewsHappy first day of spring (or fall)! Last week there were signs of daffodils and tulips in my yard, but the sprouts are currently buried under snow. I'm pretty sure these kinds of bulbs can handle the cold, but I'll have to wait a little longer before I see flowers in my gardens.

I finished three books this week and started three more. I love it when I'm in a good reading groove. I also managed to watch a couple of movies: Foodies, which I reviewed on Saturday and Jackie, which I'll talk about later in the week.

I hit a new stride with my (in)famous unified database. I have all my print books cataloged and I'm through the letter O for my eBooks. I may finish this project before the end of year.

Books I Read

Review: I Liked My Life by Abby FabiaschiI Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi (St. Martin's Press): Don't be put off by the publisher's summary, which mentions suicide. The novel, which is told from three points of view -- the dead mother, the teenage daughter, and the widowed husband -- is less about suicide than it is about sudden death, life after death, grief, finding a new path, unanswered questions, family, and women's choices. While I wouldn't call the book life affirming, it is not a downer, and I liked the ending. I'm recommending the unabridged audiobook (Macmillian Audio; 9 hr, 47 min). Therese Plummer, Susan Bennett, and Dan Bittner, each of whom performed a different narrating character, had age-appropriate voices, projected a range of emotions, and blended well with each other. My full audiobook review will be available from AudioFile magazine.

Review: One of the Boys by Daniel MagarielOne of the Boys by Daniel Magariel (Scribner): I was expecting a rough story but not a book that was so emotionally gripping that I ended up reading all in one go. The story involves a man who pits his sons against their mother and then, after removing them from her life and transporting them across state lines, sets the brothers against each other. The boys, especially the twelve-year-old, find their father hard to resist, until they are trapped in his downward-spiraling life and become the target of his abuse. The older boy sees the truth of their father first, and tries to blaze a trail to safety for himself and his brother. Tough subjects, but a not-to-be-missed debut.

Review: City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. AndersonCity of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers): Confession: I started this audiobook a couple of months ago and decided it wasn't for me. Then I started it again this week and couldn't stop listening. The book takes place in Africa and explores white businessmen, the criminal underworld, the guerilla armies, and especially the hardships faced by African women, not only in war-torn Congo but in the cities as well. Tina, the sixteen-year-old daughter of a murdered maid, has lived on the streets for five years, joining a gang and becoming a thief to keep her younger sister safe in a convent school. As Tina plans her revenge on the man who killed her mother, we are shown just how hard life can be for women in dangerous places. The audiobook (Listening Library; 11 hr, 12 min) was narrated by Pascale Armand. I was impressed with her range of accents (Swahili-English, American, French), her emotional depth, and her pacing. Armand's performance transported me to Africa, and I am recommending this audiobook. According to the author's note, although the characters are fictional, the story itself is based on the true conditions and recollections of Congolese refugees.

Books I'm Reading Now

3 books to read in March

My next audiobook (starting soon after writing this post) is Sam Shepard's The One Inside (Random House Audio; 4 hr, 31 min) read mostly by Bill Pullman, though Patti Smith reads her foreword. My print book is My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry (Pamela Dorman Books), which is a psychological thriller. My ebook is Himself by Jess Kidd (Atria), which is set in Ireland, making is perfect for March.

Book News
  • Attention writers: SFK Press is hosting the 2017 Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest for authors who write about the American South. Details (including the application form and prizes) can be found on the publisher's contest page.
  • The National Book Critics Circle announced the winners of their 2016 awards. Louise Erdrich's LaRose won the fiction award, and the full list of award winners can be found on the NBCC website.
  • Finally, the Read It Forward editors (Penguin Random House) share six recommended debut novels in the following short video. Take a look.

18 comments:

Sarah's Book Shelves 3/20/17, 7:37 AM  

I'm planning to read One of the Boys - I've heard such fantastic things about it and I love that it's short.

Tina 3/20/17, 7:41 AM  

Lots of good links you shared, thank you! I am very interesting My Husband's Wife and Himself. My book list is getting overwhelming and I hope I live long enough to read them all!

bermudaonion 3/20/17, 8:13 AM  

I'm listening to I Liked My Life right now and am really enjoying it. I thought One of the Boys was terrific too.

(Diane) bookchickdi 3/20/17, 8:28 AM  

One of the Boys sounds so intriguing. I loved LaRose, it was one of the best books I read last year. And I always look forward to Abbe and Emma's Six Picks videos.

Susie | Novel Visits 3/20/17, 9:03 AM  

I loved One of the Boys, too! It was such a powerful story packed into into a short space. I'd love to talk to the author about where that story came from. Glad you had such a great reading week!

JoAnn 3/20/17, 9:21 AM  

The NBCC Award reminds me that I need to get back to LaRose. I started the audio in December when I wasn't walking much, but that's not the case now. May even make it a read/listen combo.

Kathy Martin 3/20/17, 9:49 AM  

Sounds like a productive week. I'm glad that I started using LibraryThing to catalog all of my books when I took part in a class about Web 2.0 tools in 2008. I remember it being a quite a task getting all my books entered. I didn't yet have any ebooks. Now it is just routine to add any new new arrivals to LibraryThing. Come see my reading week here. Happy reading!

Laurel-Rain Snow 3/20/17, 11:05 AM  

I enjoyed My Husband's Wife....and One of the Boys looks like a memorable read.

Enjoy your week, and thanks for visiting my blog.

pussreboots 3/20/17, 11:38 AM  

Those are all new to me books. I'm joining up in the fun again and I'm hoping you'll stop by to my new domain.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Emma Littlefield 3/20/17, 11:59 AM  

One of the Boys sounds like a hard read. I loved Himself, a nice and off the wall debut.

Yvonne 3/20/17, 12:19 PM  

My Husband's Wife sounds really good. Enjoy all those books and have a great week!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 3/20/17, 12:30 PM  

You always read such wonderful and compelling stories. Thanks for sharing these with us.

Kathy Reads Fiction 3/20/17, 5:33 PM  

Oh, I'm starting One of the Boys tonight. I hope it doesn't keep me up reading because I can oversleep pretty easily. As in today. I still have My Husband's Wife on my shelf to read sometime.

Kailana 3/20/17, 6:04 PM  

We started spring with a snowstorm. Fun times!

Jane @ www.raincitylibrarian.ca 3/20/17, 8:39 PM  

One of the Boys sounds incredibly intense, it takes a deft hand to tackle such a story!

Julia Pigott 3/20/17, 9:07 PM  

Glad to see a review on City of Saints & Thieves. I'm hoping to get a copy of the audiobook soon! Happy reading!

Greg 3/20/17, 10:12 PM  

I'm seeing green pop up too! And luckily the snow has held off here (knocking on wood). I saw a review somewhere for My Husband's Wife and it sounded like a pretty good thriller.

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