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 […]

This was an accidental choice, but it’s turned out to be a fairly happy accident. Which is a bit of a coincidence, as the book was accidentally announced as a finalist for the 2011 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Despite the error having been made internally, Myracle had to withdraw from the contest. […]

OOF! When I first tried this one, I just could not get into it. So I put it aside, figuring I’d find something else for North Carolina’s cities… and struck out on that front. So I went back to Redemption Road, and… well, it wasn’t quite as bad as before… but it wasn’t great. I’m […]

Well, I’m pretty mixed on this one. The writing was wonderful–descriptive, lush, full of emotions. I loved what Siddons did with the “abyss”–the ways in which we disguise our true selves, even from those we love the most. The way that Kate’s father reinvented himself–and his daughter–as true Southern aristocrats was masterfully written. But the […]

This one is a wonderful book for our challenge–the saltwater coastal marsh where Kya lives is a vibrant vital part of her life, and an integral part of the story. The marsh birds are present not just in their calls, but in their individual feathers and characteristics–some of them incredibly detailed: the crest feathers of […]

Wow! This is a wonderful book that evokes all the senses and immerses us in the North Carolina mountains of 1939. There are birds–with calls and local names–there are flowers and herbs, there are trees and loggers riding them downriver. There are descriptions of traditional crafts–woodworking, weaving and spinning–as well as day-to-day facts of life […]

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 […]

This was a fun, light read that brought to life a bit of history I was unfamiliar with–the Miss Subway promotional beauty contests that ran from 1941 to 1976. It will probably not go down as the best of our books for New York, but it got us off to a good start. I am […]

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 […]

This was an excellent, thought-provoking look at a little-known historical event which had far-reaching consequences that continue to ripple through today’s headlines. The Ni’ihau Incident was used as a justification for the US government’s policy of imprisoning Japanese-Americans during World War II. Historians today recommend the usage of the phrase “concentration camps” for these places […]