Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Childhood Favorites...Witch in the House

Childhood favorites. Everyone has a favorite book or author from childhood. A book that touched them or changed them. A book that perhaps initiated their love of reading and put them on the path of libraries and learning.

Childhood Favorites is a monthly series focusing on beloved books from the past. 

Donald Zolan, Quiet Time.

One of my favorite parts of elementary school was the Scholastic Book Orders. I don't remember book fairs, but each month we would bring home a book order and I would circle book after book, wanting to get them all. My mother  always let me get one or two. Back in the 70s these sweet little paperback stories were 75 cents or maybe a dollar. I read them over and over again. I still have many.


One of my favorites was Witch in the House by Ruth Chew, about a girl who finds a witch in her house. The witch sat upside down on the ceiling and ate egg shells, coffee grounds and burnt toast. She took a shower while sitting on the bath mat on the ceiling in the bathroom. The girls would fly on that magic bathmat and that was so cool. Who wouldn't want to do that?

What about you? What is one of your childhood favorites?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

#CoverCrush...Beatrice and Benedick

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


A pretty girl with a casual updo. A profile. She's looking away, but at what? Who is she? What is her story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Historical Fiction Reader.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Childhood Favorites...Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Childhood favorites. Everyone has a favorite book or author from childhood. A book that touched them or changed them. A book that perhaps initiated their love of reading and put them on the path of libraries and learning.

Childhood Favorites is a monthly series focusing on beloved books from the past. 

Donald Zolan, Quiet Time.

I discovered Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sometime in grade school. I loved it. I loved my hardback book with the pencil illustrations. And chocolate. Willy Wonka, the glass elevator. Grandpa Joe. And chocolate. The naughty kids who all got in trouble and punished in some way.


It was all good fun. Reading it as an adult, is still good fun, but you can see the darker elements. And chocolate. The fact that the family was really starving and destitute. That Willy Wonka probably wasn't a great employer. But, chocolate.


My favorite film version is Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I like Johnny Depp, but I just can't watch the new version.

What about you? What is one of your childhood favorites?

Thursday, April 16, 2020

#CoverCrush...The Book Charmer

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.



Books. I love books. A stack of books. A comfy chair. How do they all fit together? What is the story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Historical Fiction Reader.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

#CoverCrush....The Orphan House

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.



I'm a sucker for covers with children on them. Who are these sweet girls? What are they waiting for? What is their story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Historical Fiction Reader.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

#CoverCrush: Promise Me

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


I love letters. So a book about letters? I am so there. Love this cover. The letters in a folder, tied with string. Who are they to? Who sent them? What is the story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Historical Fiction Reader. Check out Stephanie's Cover Crush at Layered Pages.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Hotel Moscow...#BookReview...DNF

About the book:
From the author of Jerusalem Maiden comes a mesmerizing, thought-provoking novel that tells the riveting story of an American woman—the daughter of Holocaust survivors—who travels to Russia shortly after the fall of communism, and finds herself embroiled in a perilous mafia conspiracy that could irrevocably destroy her life.

Brooke Fielding, a thirty-eight year old New York investment manager and daughter of Jewish Holocaust survivors, finds her life suddenly upended in late September 1993 when her job is unexpectedly put in jeopardy. Brooke accepts an invitation to join a friend on a mission to Moscow to teach entrepreneurial skills to Russian business women, which will also give her a chance to gain expertise in the new, vast emerging Russian market. Though excited by the opportunity to save her job and be one of the first Americans to visit Russia after the fall of communism, she also wonders what awaits her in the country that persecuted her mother just a generation ago.

Inspired by the women she meets, Brooke becomes committed to helping them investigate the crime that threatens their businesses. But as the uprising of the Russian parliament against President Boris Yeltsin turns Moscow into a volatile war zone, Brooke will find that her involvement comes at a high cost. For in a city where “capitalism” is still a dirty word, where neighbors spy on neighbors and the new economy is in the hands of a few dangerous men, nothing Brooke does goes unnoticed—and a mistake in her past may now compromise her future.

A moving, poignant, and rich novel, Hotel Moscow is an eye-opening portrait of post-communist Russia and a profound exploration of faith, family, and heritage.

I have always been fascinated with Russia. As a child of the 70s, it was mystical and far away. It was secret and dangerous and intriguing. Hotel Moscow caught my attention awhile back, but ended up languishing in my TBR pile for far too long and I finally picked it up the other day to sit down and read.

And I couldn't do it. The story covers a week in the life of a woman who goes to Russia in late 1993, after the fall of communism, to teach women about business. I found it to be a superficial, idealistic story that should have been one of depth and nuance. Instead it was dry and full of good Americans and bad Russians. A caricature of what really happened. I finally skimmed it and am chalking it up to a DNF. I wanted to like it. I really did.

Read 3/20

*
1/5 Stars

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Scent Keeper... #Bookreview

About the book:
Emmeline lives an enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won't explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them. As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world - a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and imagination.

Lyrical and immersive, The Scent Keeper explores the provocative beauty of scent, the way it can reveal hidden truths, lead us to the person we seek, and even help us find our way back home.

Emmeline grows up on a remote island in British Columbia, unaware of the world outside. Her father is full of magical stories about mermaids and focused on the art of capturing scent memories. When the day comes that Emmeline must leave her island, she must learn to navigate a strange new world, and it is scent that guides her.

I was captivated by Emmeline's story from the very beginning and I had no clue how it was going to end, but I was happy to be along for the ride. Scent and memory are forever intertwined for people. Smells hold memories and allow us to travel through time.

Her father often said, "Let the smell introduce itself. Now open the back of your mind. Listen to the story." So, Emmeline learned to read people and situations because of scent. "Sometimes there were those unreal perfumes, jumbling and talking too loudly--but underneath them I could always find the person." 

As Emmeline finds her path in this strange, new world, she also discovers what is important. "People lie Emmeline, but smells never do." 

I so enjoy Erica Bauermeister's writing. Her beautiful, lyrical way with words. They are rich and sumptuous and bring with them a magical way of looking at the world.

I have never been disappointed with an Erica Bauermeister novel. I appreciate the Kindle copy for review, but now I need to buy a print copy so I can highlight it.

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Erica Bauermeister here and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Read 3/20

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore...#BookReview

About the book:
The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.

But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead "checking out" impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra.

The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he's embarked on a complex analysis of the customers' behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what's going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.

Growing up in the Bay Area, I love when a book is set in San Francisco. Add a bookstore and quirky people and you have my attention.

I didn't know what to expect when I started this book, but I couldn't put it down. I had to know what happened.

Clay Jannon loses his job doing web design for a bagel company and lands a new job as the night clerk in a weird 24-hour bookstore. Rarely selling, but often logging in details about the odd visitors who borrow old books from high up the shelves. Books he isn't supposed to open.

I don't usually enjoy a first person narrative, but I liked Clay's voice and his observations. The story is very much like a puzzle to be solved, as you follow Clay's creativity in finding answers to his curiosity.

From old books and ancient cloaks, to fancy tech toys and Google, Mr. Penumbra's Bookstore is where secret, ancient societies meet technology and the result is whimsical delight.

And, the cover glows in the dark.

I purchased my own copy.

Read 1/20

* * * * *
5/5 Stars