Now in paperback:

For those who are charmed by books (and small towns): The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

by joycesmysteryandfictionbookreviews

The Book Charmer is certain to tick all of the boxes for those who enjoy women’s fiction with a bit of heft. The story takes place in Dove Pond, a small town in North Carolina that has some charming shops and charming people. The Book Charmer herself is Sarah Dove. Books speak to her and have ever since she was little. Books let her know who should read them; although it may not initially make sense to the recipient, over time it will.

To this community come Grace, Mama G and Daisy. They all have back stories that are explored. Grace was a foster child, Mama G cared for her and Daisy is the child of Grace’s deceased sister. Mama G suffers from Alzheimer’s; the book shows some of her struggles and the sadness and difficulties for those who are affected by it.

Also living in Dove Pond is Travis who has his own ghosts and troubles. He is a war veteran who is trying to move on with his life. There are other characters for the reader to meet as well. Their stories intersect over the course of the story.

I enjoyed this title with its mix of a little magical realism, realism, love stories, friendships and time spent with characters whom I enjoyed knowing. If there were a real Dove Pond, I would surely love to visit there.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in exchange for an honest review.

Buzz Books 2021: Spring/Summer

by Publishers Lunch

I always look forward to this (free!) publication. It lists so many books that will be coming out over the coming months. Everything is here from debut fiction to literary titles to commercial fiction, non-fiction and more. Plus, there are generous excerpts from a number of upcoming titles. One that I am really looking forward to is Marie Benedict’s novel about the librarian for the Morgan Library.

Read this one with a pad of paper or device close by so that you can jot down the titles that you want to remember.. I guarantee that there will be quite a few.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title. All opinions are my own.

The classic: Frankenstein

A Guide to Reading and Reflecting

by Mary Shelley; Karen Swallow Prior

#FrankensteinAGuidetoReadingandReflecting #NetGalley

Pub Date 09 Mar 2021

This is the second title that I have read in this series, following on Jane Eyre. This edition includes the full, first edition of Frankenstein. (One thing that you will learn is that there were both an original and later Frankenstein). There is a lot of information in the sections that are included along with the full text of the novel.

Readers learn that Mary Shelley had a somewhat chaotic life and one that was filled with loss. Her bereavements included her mother’s death, deaths of her children and the death of her husband. In addition, readers learn about the free wheeling existence of Mary, Percy and those around them. There were many affairs and interconnections.

This edition also includes a good deal of insight into the novel itself. Those who have never read the book may be surprised to learn that Frankenstein was not the monster. They may also be surprised by who narrates the story. Some of the influences on Shelly in terms of death and its links with creation and birth are explored as are many others as well. In addition context about the Romantics and other influences of Shelley’s era and discussion questions..

This book is published by a religious publisher so there is a section on reading the book from that perspective. Overall, I feel that this edition will be welcomed by readers looking for some insight into Frankenstein before they read or reread it. There are even some questions for discussion included after each of the novel’s volumes.

Next in a wonderful series:

Mary Anning

by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

#MaryAnning #NetGalley

Pub Date 09 Mar 2021

This entry in the Little People, Big Dreams series tells the story of a little girl who made a BIG discovery. Readers learn that Mary was the tenth of the children in her family. From an early age, she went for walks with her father. On these walks, she looked for shells but one day, Mary found something more. It was a fossil that turned out to be an Icthyosaurus skeleton! From that point, her enthusiasm for paleontology was the focus in her life.

Children will learn a good deal about how Mary educated herself and waited a long time for recognition. She did become the Mother of Paleontology and had an Ichthyosaurus named for her.

The illustrations in this title are delightful. They are a lovely accompaniment to the text.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title. All opinions are my own.

An e book bargain for January 17, 2021

I’d like to belong: The Jane Austen Society A Novel by Natalie Jenner

by joycesmysteryandfictionbookreviews

My earlier review

I was very excited to receive an e galley of this title; I knew that I wanted to read this book from the moment that I learned of its existence.

I have been reading a number of Jane Austen related works lately including Emma and The Other Bennett Sister. Furthermore, this book looked like it would appeal to those who enjoyed The Chilbury Ladies Choir, Dear Mrs. Bird and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, all of which I read and enjoyed. So…did the book live up to my hopes?
Yes, it did!
This novel tells the stories of a number of characters who were impacted by WWI and are living in the 1930s when the story begins. The characters either live in Chawton or spend time there. As savvy readers know, Jane Austen lived in this village.
Each of the main characters has a compelling back story and all have struggled in some way. Characters include a farmer, an actress, a very smart domestic worker, the owner of a home with ties to the Austens, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher and more. Each is beautifully portrayed and is multi-dimensional.
The characters are brought together through their love of Austen. One of the pleasures of this book was the observations on Austen’s works and the influence and impact of her novels on the protagonists. Another delight in the book is the way in which the village comes to life.
This book is not filled with the kinds of actions that one finds in thrillers. Rather, it is a novel that takes its time. Readers will find that they are amply rewarded for staying with this gently paced novel. I recommend it highly.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in exchange for an honest review. Note that this is Ms. Jenner’s first novel; I sincerely hope that it will not be her last!

#TheJaneAustenSociety #NetGalley

An e book bargain for January 17, 2021

Thoughts and wisdom: How to Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons)

by joycesmysteryandfictionbookreviews

My earlier review

Poetry

by Barbara Kingsolver

Pub Date 22 Sep 2020

#HowtoFlyInTenThousandEasyLessons #NetGalley

I have read and enjoyed novels by Barbara Kingsolver and so was both excited and intrigued to see that she was publishing a book of poems. I read about this volume in an interview with the author that said her poetry was personal and could not have been put out into the world earlier in her life.

The poems themselves cover many topics. The first section, aptly in view of the title of this collection, is all about how to…how to Have a Child, Cure Sweet Potatoes, Survive This and more. There are a number of other sections as well.

The poems can, of course, be read in any order. I loved many of them. There is a life wisdom that Ms. Kingsolver has acquired and shares; take part in it. Read this title.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.