This post-apocalyptic journey starts like so many others — the world has imploded because of a series of horrible events — but then quickly veers off into a surprisingly pleasant direction of its own. Beatrix is a fair trade advocate, who just traveled for several weeks to get back home from an international work trip to California, only to find her roommates have left for greener pastures. Carson, is a former history teacher turned principal living on the east coast, who decides when things get bad he’s going to take a long walk. Specifically, to find Beatrix. They randomly met in the before and made an instant connection, and his hope of seeing her again propels him across the country on foot.
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A Fletcher was a book that caught my attention primarily because of the title. I love a good dsytopian/post-apocalyptic novel. I also love dogs. Even though this book came out over a year ago, I only just started hearing about it everywhere, and when I was recently able to get an inexpensive digital copy, I scooped it right up.
Right at the upfront, the book kindly requests that you refrain from sharing plot points that may spoil the reading experience for others, so I will diligently do my best to avoid them. It’s the story of Griz, who lives on an island with his family in what is now, essentially, an empty world. A “Gelding” occurred in which humanity becomes mostly sterile, and the population has dwindled to an absurdly small percentage of its current number. Though he hasn’t seen much of the world, Griz has heard stories about it from his parents. Despite his inexperience off the island, when a visitor takes something from Griz, he doesn’t hesitate to leave his family and his home behind to get it back.
Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflieshas been on my radar for what feels like forever — I’ve owned a copy for at least five years now. But I didn’t read it until recently, and I can’t believe I didn’t pick it up sooner. Alvarez’s novel is based on the true story of three sisters who were murdered in 1960s Dominican Republic, for their part in a plot to overthrow the government.
The story follows all four Mirabal sisters during the 50s and 60s as well as the one who was not murdered in the present (in this case, the 90s). Despite being close in age and obviously growing up in the same household, their very different personalities. Each shines through in her section. Alas, they come together in the end with the goal of bringing down their country’s dictator, Trujillo. They become involved in the resistance and collectively the sisters become known as “las mariposas,” or “the butterflies.”
I really enjoy Katherine Center’s stories. I was a huge fan of How to Walk Away — like finishing-it-in-my-car-before-work huge — and I’m glad to say this one did not disappoint. From what I’ve seen, her novels revolve around a woman who isn’t exactly what you would expect. In Things You Save in a Fire, the main character Cassie is a female firefighter.
She’s tough as nails and extremely career-oriented. Though she’s been estranged from her mother since she was a kid, Cassie softens just a little bit, and ends up agreeing to move across the country to live with her in Boston when her mom reveals she’s having some health issues. At the new firehouse, Cassie is the only woman. As seasoned as she is, Cassie must still constantly prove her worth against the rookie, and while he has no actual experience, he is a guy and therefore more welcome in the old-school environment.
Today I’m really excited to introduce another book-and-food blogger like myself! Elizabeth reviews and bakes over at Dessert and a Novel. We recently got acquainted via social media, and I’m really loving her bookish and food taste, so I’m sure you will too. Without further adieu, check her out:
I excitedly picked Candice Carty-Williams’ Queenie as my Book of the Month in March, but since life gets in the way, I didn’t get a chance to read it until recently. I was so looking forward to it that I chose it as a part of a reading challenge I’m doing with Deanna (who you’ll remember from Gilmore week) now that she’s moved away. It fit perfectly in the “book with a one word title” category.
Queenie is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, where she works at a newspaper. After a recent breakup with her long-term white boyfriend, she’s struggling to cope in a healthy way. She can’t concentrate on her job, and her “getting back out there” has disastrous results.
Valencia and Valentine is a contemporary fiction debut from Suzy Krause that came out just a few days ago. The novel is described as quirky and charming and perfect for fans of Maria Semple, Graeme Simsion, Fredrik Backman and even Gail Honeyman — all of whom I’ve enjoyed. Naturally, with those comparisons, I was excited to have the opportunity to join the blog tour hosted by TLC Book Tours!
Mira T. Lee’s debut novel, Everything Here Is Beautiful, is a tough book to discuss—though we attempted to do just that for my last book club meeting. It was suggested by one of our members last year, shortly after it was released, and when it finally got chosen as our monthly pick, I was looking forward to reading it. It’s a story about sisters, about immigrants, about mental illness. It’s a raw and powerful debut that I can’t recommend enough.
The novel follows two Chinese-American sisters, Miranda the oldest and Lucia the youngest, in the years after their mother dies from cancer. Lucia is adventurous and full of life, and when it’s determined that she has schizoaffective disorder, Miranda does everything in her power to keep Lucia grounded and get her the help she needs.
For those of you who don’t know, Eva Braun was Hitler’s mistress (and, at the very end, wife). While Hitler took precautions to appear unattached in public, in private, it was well-known that he was with Eva. She hosted many of the meals at Berghof, a Nazi party retreat in the Bavarian Alps. If you saw my review of The Taster, Berghof will be quite familiar to you.
When I was invited to join the blog tour for Phaedra Patrick’s The Library of Lost and Found, I couldn’t turn it down. It was a book about books! I’m a huge fan of bookish novels — as I’m sure you are too. I haven’t read Phaedra’s bestselling The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper (yet), but based on its popularity, I knew I was in for a wonderful story.
Martha Storm is a librarian with a huge heart, who bends over backwards for others, even though they don’t often recognize her efforts. Caught in a bit of a rut, without many friends or close family, Martha craves meaningful relationships. When a mysterious man leaves her a tattered novel on the library’s doorstep, it’s a sign her life may be ready for a change.