24 June 2019

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: My Uneven Reading Week

Stacked-Up Book thoughts: Book reviews for mid-JuneMy fingers are crossed, but I think we may be seeing the end of the monsoon season. This past weekend was beautiful, and I managed to get outside and work in my gardens. They aren't the best they've looked, but I think the flowers are happy for the improvement.

The good weather couldn't have been better timed because a friend was in town, visiting from England. We were invited to lovely afternoon cookout, which was the perfect way to reconnect and relax.

I didn't get much reading finished this week, mostly because I had to bail on two -- yes, two -- of my books. One I ditched fairly early on, but the other I stupidly hung in there for way too long. Fortunately, I managed to finish one audiobook and made good progress on print books.

Review of Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner (Crown Books for Young Readers, Feb. 2019). This young adult novel is about two best friends struggling to balance their teenage loyalties and dreams with the realities of their after-high-school opportunities. Josie and Delia have spent two years as hosts of a weekly fright night, which shows raunchy horror flicks on local-access television. They've had some success with their on-screen banter and intermission acts, and their show has been syndicated to several other local-access stations across the country. As their senior year ends, their future as TV co-hosts comes into question. A cute boy, an invite to a horror com (think Comic Com, except for horror movies), and family issues leave Delia and especially Josie with tough decisions.

Zentner nails this story. The girls were easy to connect with, their dilemmas seemed realistic, and the conclusion was satisfying. I loved the humor and quick dialogue but was also heartbroken for the girls as they dealt with the first steps of becoming adults and faced the consequences of their choices. Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee has good crossover appeal to older readers, and I fully recommend it. Note that I listened to the unabridged audiobook (Listening Library; 10 hr, 20 min) read by Sophie Amoss and Phoebe Strole, who blended well together and delivered on the full range of emotions. See AudioFile magazine for my audiobook review. (Review copy provided by the publisher; audiobook provided for a freelance review)

thoughts about Ancestral Night by Elizabeth BearI gave Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear (Gallery, March 2019; Simon & Schuster Audio, 16 hr, 48 min) more than a fair chance. This first in a new space opera series has garnered much praise. In the far future, Haimey Dz and her partner Connla Kurucz (male) fly a space salvage ship, collecting debris that has been left behind by all kinds of sentient species. When trying to score big, they uncover a secret and catch the attention of space pirates and the universe authorities. The entire story is told from Haimey's point of view (supposedly her diary), which is full of introspection and angst. I wish I knew why I devoted 10 hours of my life to this audiobook. There was too much "being in Haimey's head" for me, which consisted mostly of her wondering if she was doing the right thing, missing her friends, tweaking her emotions, ruminating over her upbringing, and reviewing her one big failed relationship. I guess I kept thinking something or other would happen. Sigh. Narrator Nneka Okoye did a fine job delivering Haimey's inner voice, but in the end, I had to say good-bye. (audiobook copy provided by the publisher)

thoughts on The Wolf Connection by Teo AlferoFortunately, I didn't spend much time at all with The Wolf Connection: What Wolves Can Teach Us about Being Human by Teo Alfero (Atria, June 25). This book was compared to Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs's Women Who Run with the Wolves and with Sy Montgomery's The Soul of an Octopus. Who could resist downloading a review copy? I pretty much jumped at the chance to read this. I wish I had paid closer attention to the publisher's summary, because I quickly realized this was not a book for me. On the other hand, it may be the perfect book for you. I was looking for a study about animal behavior, but what I got was the story of a program that helps heal people and guide them to a fuller life through a connection with these amazing animals. I support any program that can help people move past trauma while at the same time preserve Native American lore and can further our understanding of wolf behavior. It just wasn't the book I was expecting to read this week, and so put it aside. I may return to The Wolf Connection later in the year, now that I understand what it's all about. (digital copy provided by the publisher)


JoAnn 6/24/19, 8:28 AM  

At least the weather was stellar even if the books weren't! We had an beautiful weekend, too.

Susie | Novel Visits 6/24/19, 8:43 AM  

It's always so frustrating when books just aren't working, but calling it quits is definitely needed on some. Glad you found one that worked and that the weather has improved. I know I'm ready for a lot more outdoor reading.

shelleyrae @ book'd out 6/24/19, 8:46 AM  

One out of three is not too bad. I have to agree that when a book is not what you expected it can be offputting, even if there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the book.

Have a great reading week Beth, I hope the good weather continues

Adriana @ BooksOnHerMind 6/24/19, 9:48 AM  

I'm surprised I hadn't heard of Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee book yet until your post since I tend to keep up with the YA releases. I've been looking into books about wolves lately actually so it's funny you write about The Wolf Connection. Too bad it wasn't for you.

rhapsodyinbooks 6/24/19, 9:57 AM  

I would have thought exactly the same about the wolf book, and had exactly the same reaction as you did!

Laurel-Rain Snow 6/24/19, 12:08 PM  

I'm curious about Rayne and Delilah's Midnite Matinee. Enjoy your week, and thanks for visiting my blog.

Greg 6/24/19, 1:00 PM  

The rain has lessened some here too, after a VERY rainy June. Glad it has where you are too. Sorry to hear about Ancestral Night. I was curious about that one, I kinda liked the premise, but when I read the sample at Amazon it didn't grab me, so I backburnered it. It does sound like not enough happens... good to know.

Have a great week!

Kathy Martin 6/24/19, 1:19 PM  

That space opera sounded like it had potential. Too bad it didn't live up to the promise. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

pussreboots 6/24/19, 4:16 PM  

Looks like an interesting pair of books. Have a good week. My week in review

bermudaonion 6/24/19, 5:15 PM  

I've got to get better at "ditching" books. I hope this is a great reading week for you.

Yvonne 6/24/19, 9:12 PM  

We had beautiful weather this weekend too. It finally stopped raining although I think the forecast is showing rain for tomorrow. At least the weekend was nice :) Have a great week!

Jackie McGuinness 6/25/19, 9:11 AM  

Just wanted to say I finished The Year of Wonders and loved it, never wanted it to end.

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