ARC Book Review: The Den by Abi Maxwell #TheDen #WomensFiction #BookReview

The Den

by Abi Maxwell

20181229_092454.jpg

From Goodreads:

A luminous, hypnotic story of youth, sex, and power that tells of two young women who find themselves ostracized from the same small New England community for the same reasons–though they are separated by 150 years.

Henrietta and Jane are fifteen and twelve, growing up in a farmhouse on the outskirts of town. Their mother is a painter, lost in her art, their father a cook who’s raised them on magical tales about their land. When Henrietta becomes obsessed with a boy from town, Jane takes to trailing the young couple, spying on their trysts–until one night, Henrietta vanishes into the woods. Elspeth and Claire are sisters separated by an ocean–Elspeth’s pregnancy at seventeen meant she was quickly married and sent to America to avoid certain shame. But when she begins ingratiating herself to the town’s wealthy mill owner, a series of wrenching and violent events unfold, culminating in her disappearance. As Jane and Claire search in their own times for their missing sisters, they each come across a strange story about a family that is transformed into coyotes. But what does this myth mean? Are their sisters dead, destroyed by men and lust? Or, are they alive and thriving beyond the watchful eyes of their same small town? With echoes of The Scarlet Letter, Abi Maxwell gives us a transporting, layered tale of two women, living generations apart yet connected by place and longing, and condemned for the very same desires.

Continue reading “ARC Book Review: The Den by Abi Maxwell #TheDen #WomensFiction #BookReview”

In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael A. McLellan | Book Review | Author Interview | Signed Giveaway Including a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card! #HistFic #BookReview #Giveaway #Fiction

HiIn the Shadow of the Hanging Tree

by Michael A. McLellan

From Goodreads:

In 1865 a shadow hovers over the nation: the shadow lingers still…

Born into slavery, Henry’s young life is spent working in tobacco drying sheds on Missouri plantations. Freed at the onset of the Civil War, he’s alone, starving, and on the run from Confederate militiamen.

Five years later, Clara Hanfield, the daughter of a powerful New York shipping magnate, escapes her tyrannical father and travels west in pursuit of John Elliot, the man she loves. John, a U.S. Army lieutenant, was sent to the Dakota Territory where he discovers a government conspiracy to incite an all-out war with the Indians; a war meant to finally eliminate them as an obstacle to the westward expansion.

Henry finds himself caught in the middle.

Aided by Clara, John, and his native ally, Standing Elk, Henry must battle hatred, greed, and the ghosts of his past during this turbulent and troubling time in American history.

Continue reading “In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael A. McLellan | Book Review | Author Interview | Signed Giveaway Including a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card! #HistFic #BookReview #Giveaway #Fiction”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book: Spaghetti Squash – In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael A. McLellan

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all doing well this week. It’s hard to believe we are in the middle of May already. Time is flying this year! I’m sorry I haven’t been doing many Breakfast and a Book posts lately, but life has been a little crazy. I hope to pick back up with more of these during the summer when I have a little more time in the mornings.

spag

I’ve had this recipe in mind for some time now. I cook it often, but the difference now is that I don’t have it with eggs like I used to. For breakfast, this can be served with fried eggs or scrambled eggs mixed in. Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book: Spaghetti Squash – In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael A. McLellan”

Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Roy and Ali Fadhil- Book Review

Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story

_______
33413900

Blurb from Goodreads: At the start of 1991, eleven-year-old Ali Fadhil was consumed by his love for soccer, video games, and American television shows. Then, on January 17, Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein went to war with thirty-four nations lead by the United States.

Over the next forty-three days, Ali and his family survived bombings, food shortages, and constant fear. Ali and his brothers played soccer on the abandoned streets of their Basra neighborhood, wondering when or if their medic father would return from the war front. Cinematic, accessible, and timely, this is the story of one ordinary kid’s view of life during war.

Continue reading “Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Roy and Ali Fadhil- Book Review”

Shabby Sunday: Demelza (Poldark #2) by Winston Graham – 1977

collage-2017-08-10-5

Shabby Sunday

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.

Today’s Shabby Share is:

Demelza (The Poldark Saga #2)

DSC_0034

Summary: Ross Poldark had returned from the war in the American colonies filled with a bold vision which made him a stranger to the elegant and delicately-bred society which had nurtured him. His marriage to Demelza, the fiery young vixen from the basest ranks of the poor, had inflamed the antagonism of those who had once been his friends.

But for Demelza it meant a crueler and more bitter struggle than any she had ever known. Side by side with the man she loved, she fought for the passion that united them and for the future of the child she was to bear…-Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This is one of my favorites out of all the Poldark books. In this installment, Ross Poldark and Demelza are now happily married and giving birth to their first child, Julia. She struggles with the marriage because there are great challenges including Elizabeth’s shadow over Ross. Even though Elizabeth is married to Francis, she will never forget that Ross once loved her and she’s determined to create the best marriage and life possible with him, to win his true love. Demelza’s character matures and grows as she becomes more confident in society and she proves herself to Ross and everyone else equally.

Much happens in this installment with the birth of Julia and also Demelza’s persistence with getting Verity coupled with Captain Blamey. She knows that Verity deserves to have a life of love–like everyone else–even if it’s against the family’s wishes. Ross spends much time away from home and deals with his business ventures. The drama between the Warleggans’ and the Poldarks’ ensues…

“George stared across the street. ‘There is only one trouble with the Poldarks,’ he said after a moment. ‘They cannot take a beating.’
‘And only one trouble with the Warleggans,’ said Ross. ‘They never know when they are not wanted.’
George’s color deepened. ‘But they can appreciate and remember an insult.’
‘Well, I trust you will remember this one.’ Ross turned his back and went down the steps into the tavern.” 

DSC_0037.JPG

I love all the primary and secondary characters in this series! They’re well developed and all the books are full of scenes that keep you reading until the last page. I love the world Winston Graham created and all the drama to go with it including the love, jealously, murder, crime, death, grief, and hate. There’s so much going on here and in just one novel.

I admire my edition of Demelza because it was published during my year of birth and I think the cover is very interesting. Even though I don’t like small paperbacks that much, I made an exception with this one because it matches my set. The pages are faded a bit, but it’s in fairly decent shape for its age at forty years.

 

5*****
DSC_0039.JPG

Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Demelza (Poldark #2) by Winston Graham – 1977”

One For Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn: Book Review #NGEW2018 #3

One for Sorrow

26959786
Blurb: Against the ominous backdrop of the influenza epidemic of 1918, Annie, a new girl at school, is claimed as best friend by Elsie, a classmate who is a tattletale, a liar, and a thief. Soon Annie makes other friends and finds herself joining them in teasing and tormenting Elsie. Elsie dies from influenza, but then she returns to reclaim Annie’s friendship and punish all the girls who bullied her. Young readers who revel in spooky stories will relish this chilling tale of a girl haunted by a vengeful ghost.

My Thoughts:

One For Sorrow is a middle grade, chilling ghost story. It takes place around 1918 during the deadliest influenza pandemic that killed millions of people.

Annie Browne has just moved to a new town with her mother and father. She’s a bit timid and she’s nervous about making friends at her new school, the Pearce Academy for Girls. The first girl she meets is Elsie, and Elsie doesn’t waste any time filling her in on how horrible the girls at Pearce are. None of the girls like Elsie and she convinces Annie that they won’t like her either. Every day, Annie can’t seem to get away from Elsie as she’s consistently holding her hand and inviting herself over to her house. She tells everyone that Annie is her best friend and because of this, nobody else wants anything to do with Annie. They begin making fun of her too and Annie becomes miserable. Elsie is bossy, pushy, and just not fun to be around. Annie can’t even seem to convince her parents that there’s something not right about Elsie. She has to find away to get away from her.

One day, Elsie doesn’t show up for school and Annie finally gets a chance to gain the friendship of some of the other girls, especially Rosie, the most popular. She becomes friends with the very group of girls that hate Elsie, including Rosie. A few more days pass and Annie wonders how Elsie will take the news when she returns. Will she be mad at Annie or will they stay friends? Will Annie take on the same bullying behaviors her classmates have bestowed on Elsie?

I just have to say–I couldn’t put this book down. From start to finish, the narrative had me completely enthralled. I had to know how this story would end and what would come of Annie. The characters are well developed and the book is written well with perfect pacing. There’s just enough to keep you turning page after page. I also loved the mention of multiple classic books by Charles Dickens and Lucy Maud Montgomery to name a few.

With that said, I was disturbed and uncomfortable at times.  I found this middle grade book a bit scary and Elsie pretty much drove me crazy from the start. It’s known that Elsie has demons from her past, some that she hasn’t been able to exterminate, which makes her very unstable and evil at times. It was almost more than I could bear. Rosie was also difficult to deal with. She’s very cruel and tends to cause problems by calling names and bullying others by chasing them. She’s pretty wound up, yet interesting. Some of the girls realize that what Rosie’s doing is wrong, but many of them keep their mouths shut because they don’t want to deal with the repercussions from her and they want her to remain their friend. They feel pressured to join in and all the while, the teacher doesn’t seem to be on top of things and doesn’t do anything to put a stop to the behaviors besides making simple commands like, “I won’t tolerate this behavior.” It’s really annoying. While all of this is happening, the flu of 1918 is making rounds. People are dying left and right. Everyone fears that they’ll be taken next, but who will it be?

Overall, I think this is a 5-star read that I highly recommend. It kept me interested from start to finish and I was really pleased with the ending. The Afterword was such a nice addition because the author explains where she got some of the ideas for the story which are inspired by true events. I’m excited to check out some other books by Mary Downing Hahn as this was my first.

Thanks to Netgalley for sharing a copy of One For Sorrow in exchange for a review.

5*****


  • Age Range: 10 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 – 7
  • Lexile Measure: 660 (What’s this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books (July 18, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0544818091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544818095

Find it on Goodreads and Amazon


Continue reading “One For Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn: Book Review #NGEW2018 #3”