Sunday, June 26, 2022

#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine #WhenItFallsApart by #CatherineBybee via @netgalley

When It Falls Apart (The D'Angelos, #1)When It Falls Apart by Catherine Bybee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

#FirstLine ~ The wretched shriek of the telephone ripped the deep bliss of sleep instantly from her head and had Brooke shooting up off the pillow.

Such a sweet, and heartbreaking story, that tugs at the heart. This story will live in your heart long after you close the book. The characters are those that you can relate to and the struggles and triumphs are those that will resonate with readers. This would make a great buddy read and/or book club pick.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine #TheLatecomer by @jeanhanffkoreli via @netgalley and @CeladonBooks

The LatecomerThe Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

#FirstLine ~ Mom had a way of of obfuscating when anyone asked how she and our father first met.

Beautiful and thoughtful this book was one I will not soon forget. It was complicated and messy and brilliant. It was one of those books that slowly seeps in and then you realized you have been changed by it without knowing it. It was deep and special. It was so good, that it is hard to really put it into words. It was unlike many other books and that is why I loved it!

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#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine #MeantToBe by @emilygiffin via @randomhouse @BallantineBooks @Netgalley

Meant to BeMeant to Be by Emily Giffin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

#FirstLine ~ I don't remember my father.

I loved this book. It was sweet and captivating. I thought it was such a wonderful love story mixed with a deep and thoughtful characters. I was drawn in immediately. I felt a deep connection to this story because it was an imperfect story with flawed characters and missteps. A perfect book for book clubs.

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Monday, May 30, 2022

#MMBBR #Showcase Asian Pacific American Heritage Month #apahm #ChildrensBooks @HolidayHouseBks @PeachtreePub


Holiday House and Peachtree have an excellent selection of new and upcoming books for children and teens that are sure to educate, engage, enlighten, and—most importantly—help readers feel seen.

Chinese Kite Festival by Rich Lo (Holiday House, for ages 4–8, available now)

Animal names and their significance in Chinese culture is beautifully explored for young readers in this stunning book. Simple bilingual text helps teach children animal names in both English and Chinese. Paired with Rich Lo's colorful digital watercolors, this simple and practical introduction to Chinese animal names and symbolism is irresistible. For more from Rich, check out Chinese New Year Colors.


Boy Who Met a Whale by Nizrana Farook (Peachtree, for ages 8–12, available now)

A fisherboy is swept up in a thrilling seafaring adventure, complete with a kidnapping, missing treasure, and a huge blue whale! Author Nizrana Farook has crafted a briskly paced, action-packed quest that swells with empathetic heroes, missing treasure, and a great beast lurking beneath. Set against a vibrant, authentic landscape inspired by Sri Lanka, this delightful caper will thrill tweens. Fans of Nizrana’s first book, The Girl Who Stole an Elephant, will rejoice in another adventure!

Lali’s Feather by Farhana Zia, Illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman (Peachtree, for ages 4–8, available now)

A vivacious and endearing story of identification, values, and the rewards in looking closely and thinking imaginatively. Farhana Zia offers a charming tale with an inventive circular structure that reveals the importance of looking beyond first impressions. Illustrator Stephanie Fizer Coleman brings this delightful story of imagination and inspiration to life.


All You Need by Howard Schwartz, illustrated by Jasu Hu (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, for ages 4–8, available now)

Follow a Chinese girl from her first steps, all the way to the moment she realizes a lifelong dream in an exciting new land. Ultimately, she creates a very special gift for her parents far away—this very book. Poet Howard Schwartz’s graceful text is made all the more potent by the illustrations of debut illustrator Jasu Hu, who used her talents to create a powerful narrative inspired by her own journey, creative and otherwise, from a childhood in China to her arrival to study art in New York.


Let's Go to Taekwondo!: A Story About Persistence, Bravery, and Breaking Boards by Aram Kim (Holiday House, for ages 3–7, paperback available now)

Yoomi and her friends are ready to take on the test for their yellow belts in taekwondo. But Yoomi is afraid to break a board. Meanwhile, Grandma is struggling to learn something new, too. But Yoomi and Grandma encourage and inspire each other. Yoomi discovers how, with persistence, focus, deep breathing, and above all, a loving Grandma, even the toughest challenges can be overcome. For more adventures with Yoomi, readers can check out No Kimchi for Me! and Sunday Funday in Koreatown.


My Dadima Wears a Sari and Sona and the Wedding Game by Kashmira Sheth, illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi (Peachtree, for ages 4–8, available now)

New in paperback are two picture books ripe with themes of family, ritual, and tradition. In My Dadima Wears a Sari, an Indian grandmother and her American granddaughter explore culture, imagination, and individuality through a sari. Experience the magic of an Indian wedding in Sona and the Wedding Game, a story of a girl playing a fun, traditional game on her sister’s big day. Kashmira Sheth is also the author of the Nina Soni chapter book series, which stars an Indian American fourth grader.


Luli and the Language of Tea by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Hyewon Yum (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, for ages 4–8, available now)

All around the ESL classroom, children played alone. Luli couldn’t speak English. Neither could the others. But this time Luli had a plan. She pulled out a fat-bellied teapot and matching cups and called “Chá!” in her native Chinese. And suddenly all the children piped up, recognizing not just the word, but the shared pastime of tea. Newbery Honoree Andrea Wang—whose 2021 picture book Watercress received an Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature—tells a touching story about children from many countries finding a common bond. The book is richly enhanced by Hyewon Yum’s perfectly pitched drawings.  


My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth (Holiday House, for ages 14 and up, available 5/31/22)

Opposites attract in this battle-robot-building YA romance from the NYT best-selling author (under the penname Olivie Blake) of The Atlas Six. In her YA debut, Alexene Farol Follmuth explores both the challenges girls of color face in STEM and the vulnerability of first love with unfailing wit and honesty. With an adorable, opposites-attract romance at its center and lines that beg to be read aloud, My Mechanical Romance is swoonworthy perfection.


And if you’re looking further into the summer, we have. . .


Boys I Know by Anna Gracia (Peachtree Teen/Peachtree, for ages 14 and up, available 7/5/22

June Zhu, a Tawainese-American high school senior in Iowa, balances her academic expectations with her fraught love life and discovering what she wants for herself, outside of the expectations of her family and society. Readers of Becky Albertalli and Jenny Han’s novel's will be glued to the page as June navigates messy boys and messier relationships in this bitingly funny and much-needed look into the overlap of Asian American identity and teen sexuality.


Thursday, May 26, 2022

#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine #NeverComingHome by @HannahMMcKinnon via @netgalley

Never Coming HomeNever Coming Home by Hannah Mary McKinnon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

#FirstLine ~ The steady noise from the antique French carriage clock on the mantlepiece had somehow amplified itself, a rhythmic tick-tick, tick-tick, which usually went unnoticed.

Wow, this book was amazing. I was not sure what was going to happen or how it would end. It was intense and so well paced. What a rollercoaster. I will not soon forget this book. It would make an amazing book club pick!

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#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine #TheVanishingTriangle by @inkstainsclaire via @netgalley and #LittleA

The Vanishing TriangleThe Vanishing Triangle by Claire McGowan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

#FirstLine ~ Prologue - Imagine this.

This book was heavy., but such a dynamic true crime story. It was written in truth and honor to the missing. It was well researched and shined a light on a system that failed in more ways than one. It is a story I did not know about and I am now glad that I now do. This book will stay with you long after you finish it.

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#MMBBR #Review #Interview #Lost&Found by @kathrynschulz via @johannarb and @randomhouse

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE • An enduring account of joy and sorrow from one of the great writers of our time,The New Yorker’s Kathryn Schulz, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“I will stake my reputation on you being blown away by Lost & Found. It is brilliant and profound and charming, all at once.”—Anne Lamott, author of Dusk, Night, Dawn and Bird by Bird

Eighteen months before Kathryn Schulz’s beloved father died, she met the woman she would marry. In 
Lost & Found, she weaves the stories of those relationships into a brilliant exploration of how all our lives are shaped by loss and discovery—from the maddening disappearance of everyday objects to the sweeping devastations of war, pandemic, and natural disaster; from finding new planets to falling in love.

Three very different American families form the heart of 
Lost & Found: the one that made Schulz’s father, a charming, brilliant, absentminded Jewish refugee; the one that made her partner, an equally brilliant farmer’s daughter and devout Christian; and the one she herself makes through marriage. But Schulz is also attentive to other, more universal kinds of conjunction: how private happiness can coexist with global catastrophe, how we get irritated with those we adore, how love and loss are themselves unavoidably inseparable. The resulting book is part memoir, part guidebook to living in a world that is simultaneously full of wonder and joy and wretchedness and suffering—a world that always demands both our gratitude and our grief.

A staff writer at 
The New Yorker and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Kathryn Schulz writes with curiosity, tenderness, erudition, and wit about our finite yet infinitely complicated lives. Crafted with the emotional clarity of C. S. Lewis and the intellectual force of Susan Sontag, Lost & Found is an uncommon book about common experiences.

This book is quite unforgettable. It was raw, honest and dynamic. This is one of those stories that will resonate with the reader because we can all relate to losing something and/or discovering something about ourselves or the world around us.

Kathryn Schulz is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of Lost & Found, forthcoming from Random House on January 11, 2022. She won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Magazine Award in 2015 for “The Really Big One,” an article about seismic risk in the Pacific Northwest. Lost & Found grew out of “Losing Streak,” which was originally published in The New Yorker and later anthologized in The Best American Essays. Her other essays and reporting have appeared in The Best American Science and Nature Writing, The Best American Travel Writing, and The Best American Food Writing. Her previous book is Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. A native of Ohio, she lives with her family on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Q.  What inspires your writing?


A. In general I’m inspired by all kinds of things—admiration for the natural world, an avid interest in history, an enduring amazement at the sheer fact of being alive—but in the case of my new book, Lost & Found, I was mostly inspired by the two people who form the heart of it: my astonishing father, a Jewish refugee who emerged from a childhood full of poverty and violence to become a wonderfully curious, compassionate, brilliant, joyful adult, and my equally astonishing partner, who has dazzled me from the day we met, and who gave me the great gift of inspiring me to write a love story.



Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?


A. The permission to keep learning. In the course of just the last few years, my work has given me an excuse to study the geology of earthquakes, the biology of stinkbugs, the history of the Muslim community in Wyoming, the mystery of how animals navigate around the planet, and countless more subjects, all of which I’ve found fascinating. I feel incredibly fortunate to have a job that allows me to constantly educate myself about something new.



Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?


A. Until I met my partner, I would have said that it was the loneliness. Even if you have wonderful friends and colleagues and a writing community, the work itself mostly happens inside your own head, often in long, silent stretches, and it can be difficult to spend so much time alone with your own thoughts and problems and worries and doubts. I’m delighted to say that marrying a very happy writer who is also a very gifted editor resolved that issue for me. Now the only tough part of writing is convincing myself to stop procrastinating and sit down and do it.


Q.  If you could not be a writer, what would you do/be?


A. That’s a tricky one, since I’ve wanted to write for so long—and by now have been writing for so long—that it’s hard for me to imagine myself doing anything else. But I suppose if I could pick an alternate life, I’d be some a botanist or ecologist or wildlife biologist—someone whose job involved spending a lot of time outdoors playing close attention to the natural world.  


Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?


A. Since I just wrote the story of my life, I guess it would be called Lost & Found!


Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?


A. An impossible question for a book-lover! But here are some books that have a special place in my private canon: George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady, James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead novels, and many, many volumes of poetry, from good old reliable Robert Frost to the contemporary oddball genius Anne Carson.  


Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?


A. I don’t know, but I can tell you that as a kid I identified strongly with Jo March, of Little Women.


Q.  What character from one/all of your book(s) are you most like?


A. Writing a memoir makes this one easy to answer: I’m most like myself!


Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?


A. T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, but only if I can choose to be in the comedic first part or the romantic second part, not the tragic final part.


Q.  What is your favorite season?


A. Spring, when everything is coming into bloom, which is also when my partner and I met. (Though our daughter was born in August, so now it’s a toss-up.)


Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?


A. I won’t spoil it, but there’s a crucial (and true-to-life) cameo by a falling star in Lost & Found, so I was thrilled when the designers put one on the cover. 


Q.  Are you working on something new?


A. Always! But those are shorter articles for my magazine job; I’m very happy to have Lost & Found out in the world and I’m not in a hurry just yet to write another book.


Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?


A.  Just that I’m grateful to you for being interested in books, and I hope you’ll check out Lost & Found. If you’re worried about picking up a grief memoir right now, you should know that although I do write about my sadness over losing my incredible dad, the book is mostly about all the astonishing things we find in life—above all, if we’re lucky, happiness and love.

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