I’m not sure what happened with this one. It was a great one for setting–Frazier gives us some fabulous descriptions of North Carolina. And it’s not just the area around Cold Mountain itself–Inman walks away from the hospital where he is recovering, across much of the state. But I lost interest in the story pretty […]

I was hesitant about this one because I’d heard there were some concerns over the way Russo handles his female characters and race, but mostly because it’s a long one–a serious investment of time when I’m feeling behind in my goals for the year. But I’m really glad I gave it a chance–this one nails […]

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve encountered a number of urban fantasy books over the years that are firmly set in our world and give a wonderful sense of the cities in which they are located, and I’m pleased to say that Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older is one of these! I am reading my way […]

I love to see books with unusual main characters–it seems like there has been a lot written recently about the importance of seeing yourself in books, and that goes for kids with special needs too. From that perspective, The Islands at the End of the World seems like a big win, although I have absolutely […]

Wow! This book has it all when it comes to setting and our reading challenge–geography, history, all the different people who make up Hawaii–and the setting is so integral to the story! So many aspects of the story are uniquely Hawaiian, there’s nowhere else it could be set. I am reading my way across the […]

I love Hawaii! I’ve visited the Big Island twice, and I love it. However, visiting someplace as a tourist can be very different from living there, and that’s very true of Hawaii. Its physical isolation means that the cost of living is very high, and most items are much more expensive than on the mainland. […]

Hmmm. I’m torn about this one. It has some great things to say about race but I don’t think the target audience is going to sit still long enough to get the message. One of my concerns since my son was born is that so many fantastic new books for young people have strong female […]

Wow! We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge was a really interesting book! The commentary on race and racism were enlightening, and the commentary on families, sisterhood and motherhood were, at times, heart-wrenching. Overall, I’m glad I read it. However, despite a few lovely descriptions of western Massachusetts and less lovely ones of Dorchester, […]

Run by Ann Patchett (2007) was an amazing read and just great for my reading challenge–we really feel not just the New England snowstorm, but also many of the Massachusetts people.  I am reading my way across the USA–5 or so books from each state, with an emphasis on those where the setting becomes its […]

In the early- to mid-1990s, I lived in Massachusetts, outside of Lawrence, along New Hampshire’s tiny coastal strip, and worked for a Girl Scout council on the North Shore, which included Lawrence, Lowell and Lynn, Salem, Marblehead and Gloucester. I also did an internship a bit to the west, around Worcester. What I remember the […]