19 June 2017

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: 3 Quick Reviews

3 quick book reviewsA combination of major thunderstorms, a quick trip out of town to celebrate friends' wedding anniversary and visit with family, and general busyness have cut into my reading and blogging time. I'd complain, but socializing with people we love is well worth the sacrifice.

The thunderstorm part, I could live without. I hate missing out on my warm-weather deck time. Grrr.

Although I didn't read anything this weekend, I was able to visit a very cool bookstore, Baldwin's Book Barn in West Chester, PA (photos on Litsy and Instagram). The store is located in an old five-level barn and is stuffed full of used books, from contemporary fiction to rare books and first editions. We didn't have a lot of time to do the store justice, but I still managed to find an out-of-print cookbook I've been looking for.

Reading Time

Marsh King's Daughter by Karen DionneThe Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne (Penguin Audio; 9 hr, 54 min, 2017): I really liked this psychological thriller / character study set in Michigan's upper peninsula. Helena grows up on an isolated homestead with just her young mother and older father and knows almost nothing about the outside world, until the day a stranger visits and she learns her sometimes ill-tempered, strict father is a bad, bad man. The story is told by an older Helena, who is determined to keep her husband and daughters safe after her father escapes from prison. It didn't matter that I was pretty sure how the story would ultimately play out--a few surprises, tense moments, and good character building held my attention. Narrator Emily Rankin set the pace and tapped into the characters' personalities, making this a recommended audiobook. (Review copy form Penguin Audio.)

The Evolution of Beauty by Richard O. PrumThe Evolution of Beauty by Richard O. Prum (Random House Audio; 13 hr, 39 min, 2017): Bird scientist and author Prum examines bird behavior and evolution in light of Darwin's dual theories of natural selection and sexual selection to explain the development of an aesthetic sense in birds, humans, and other animals. For more than a century, the evolutionary sciences have concentrated on natural selection (and three other forces of evolution) plus male competition as the principal means for adaptation and biological change, pushing the idea of beauty, sexual attraction, and especially the notion of female choice into the background. Prum makes a strong argument for reexamining some of Darwin's original theories in light of modern scientific knowledge. Narrator Dan Woren was expressive and easy to understand. If you have an interest in birds, evolution, science, and/or feminism, you'll find something to like here. (Full audiobook review in AudioFile magazine.)

The Three Faces of Nellie by Robynne Elizabeth MillerThe Three Faces of Nellie by Robynne Elizabeth Miller (Practical Pioneer Press, 2016). After learning about the new Little House-related books coming out this year, I decided to see what previously published books I may have missed. Miller's book popped up on Amazon, claiming to explore the idea that Laura Ingalls Wilder based her character Nellie Oleson on three real people. This book was poorly edited and poorly designed and only vaguely interesting. Yes, I learned the names of three women/girls who had run-ins with Laura; yes, I learned about their families and their fates; and, yes, I learned (in a handful of paragraphs) their possible links to specific episodes in the Little House books, but I cannot recommend this book and kind of wish I could have my money back. There wasn't enough material here to be a book. Miller would have been better off to have written a magazine article (and to have found a decent editor). Borrow this from the library or look for a eBook deal if you're a fan, but don't pay full price.

Currently listening to Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani (read by Edoardo Ballerini). I think this is going to be fun.

15 comments:

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 6/19/17, 7:38 AM  

The Darwin one looks super interesting! Thank God for audiobooks to get us through those times when we don't get a lot of reading time...

bermudaonion 6/19/17, 8:34 AM  

Thunderstorms are a fact of life in this part of the country so we don't pay much attention to them unless they're particularly bad.

I've got The Marsh King's Daughter on audio so I'm glad to see it's good.

Susie | Novel Visits 6/19/17, 8:47 AM  

I know how you feel about your deck. I have a big porch that I love to spend time on in the warm weather.

The Marsh King's Daughter keeps popping up everywhere. It definitely sounds like one worth checking out.

Sorry Nellie was such a bust!

Jackie Mc Guinness 6/19/17, 8:52 AM  

I should never read these posts! It only adds to my TBR list, added Marsh King.

Vicki 6/19/17, 9:49 AM  

After reading your thoughts on The Marsh King's Daughter, I got the audiobook and can't wait to get to it.

Kathy Martin 6/19/17, 10:58 AM  

The Marsh King's Daughter sounds good. I'll be adding it to my wishlist. We haven't had thunderstorms but frequent rain has put a damper on lots of outside plans where I live. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

Sherry Fundin 6/19/17, 11:02 AM  

I have not been happy with the weather here on the Gulf Coast. And now...we have a tropical depression developing. Battening down the hatches.
sherry @ fundinmental

Laurel-Rain Snow 6/19/17, 11:34 AM  

From the title, I wasn't drawn to The Marsh King's Daughter, but after reading your review, I was hooked. Adding it to my list.

Enjoy all of your reading and the rest of your week...and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

Greg 6/19/17, 1:24 PM  

That bookstore sounds awesome. A five level barn of books- I'd get lost (on purpose lol)? Love a good used bookstore and unique ones like that are best.

The Marsh King's Daughter sounds interesting to me, especially since it's set in Michigan (my state). That caught my eye- it can get pretty isolated up there in the Upper Peninsula. Would be a great setting

pussreboots 6/19/17, 2:18 PM  

I'm adding the Evolution of Beauty to my wishlist. Summer vacation has begun and so has the extreme heat. Come see what I'm reading.

(Diane) bookchickdi 6/19/17, 2:38 PM  

I love visiting bookstores when we traveling, and I have heard about this one. I'm going to check it out on Litsy.

Emma Littlefield 6/19/17, 5:11 PM  

I am thinking I need to read .the Marsh Kings Daughter...I have heard good reviews.

Iliana 6/20/17, 5:10 PM  

The book barn store sounds wonderful. I have been hearing about the Marsh King's Daughter so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this one!

Judee Algazi 6/21/17, 2:00 PM  

I'm adding The Marsh King's Daughter to my summer reading. Heard good things about it. Philadelphia area was brutal this past weekend. It couldn't get any more humid!!

Daryl 6/27/17, 9:32 AM  

somehow this post got lost in my email ... i think The Marsh King sounds interesting ...

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