Frolicking at the Beach

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Have a Lovely Saturday!

    

 

 

    

 

It’s National Book Lovers Day!

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In Times of Trouble, We Still Celebrate

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Ta Da! And the Winners Are…

Congratulations to these winners! The ARCs/books
will be mailed out this coming week. Those who
didn’t win will have another chance soon 😉

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Allison Herndon— Cat Got Your Diamonds by Julie Chase—Grandeur and opulence are everything in the famed New Orleans Garden District where pets are family and no bling is too big. Opening Furry Godmother, pet boutique and organic treat bakery, is Lacy Marie Crocker’s dream come true–until the glitter gun used to make her Shih Tzu tutus becomes a murder weapon. And Lacy becomes public enemy #1. Now Detective Jack Oliver is hounding Lacy, and her Furry Godmother investor wants out before his name is tarnished by association. To make matters worse, a string of jewel heists with suspicious ties to the murder case has New Orleans residents on edge. To save her dream, Lacy must take a stand, put her keen eyes to work, and unravel what really happened at her shop that night. But can Lacy sniff out the killer cat burglar in time to get her tail-raising designs on the catwalk?

Patrick Murphy— Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore—Something really strange is happening in the City by the Bay. People are dying, but their souls are not being collected. Someone—or something—is stealing them and no one knows where they are going, or why, but it has something to do with that big orange bridge. Death Merchant Charlie Asher is just as flummoxed as everyone else. He’s trapped in the body of a fourteen-inch-tall “meat puppet” waiting for his Buddhist nun girlfriend, Audrey, to find him a suitable new body to play host. To get to the bottom of this abomination, a motley crew of heroes will band together: the seven-foot-tall death merchant Minty Fresh; retired policeman turned bookseller Alphonse Rivera; the Emperor of San Francisco and his dogs, Bummer and Lazarus; and Lily, the former Goth girl. Now if only they can get little Sophie to stop babbling about the coming battle for the very soul of humankind . . .

Carolyn J. Rose—  Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner—Otis and Meg were inseparable until her family abruptly moved away after the terrible accident that left Otis’s little brother dead and both of their families changed forever. Since then, it’s been three years of radio silence, during which time Otis has become the unlikely protégé of eighteen-year-old Dara—part drill sergeant, part friend—who’s hell-bent on transforming Otis into the Olympic swimmer she can no longer be. But when Otis learns that Meg is coming back to town, he must face some difficult truths about the girl he’s never forgotten and the brother he’s never stopped grieving. As it becomes achingly clear that he and Meg are not the same people they were, Otis must decide what to hold on to and what to leave behind. Quietly affecting, this compulsively readable debut novel captures all the confusion, heartbreak, and fragile hope of three teens struggling to accept profound absences in their lives.

fuonlyknew/Laura Thomas—  Dying for a Taste by Leslie Karst—After losing her mother to cancer, Sally Solari quits her job as an attorney to help her dad run his old-style Italian eatery in Santa Cruz, California. But managing the front of the house is far from her dream job. Then in a sudden twist, her Aunt Letta is found murdered in her own restaurant, and Sally is the only one who can keep the place running. But when her sous chef is accused of the crime and she finds herself suddenly short-staffed, Sally must delve into the world of sustainable farming–not to mention a few family secrets–to help him clear his name and catch the true culprit before her timer runs out.

John Smith—  Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez—Emperor Mollusk. Intergalactic Menace. Destroyer of Worlds. Conqueror of Other Worlds. Mad Genius. Ex-Warlord of Earth. Not bad for a guy without a spine. But what’s a villain to do after he’s done . . . everything. With no new ambitions, he’s happy to pitch in and solve the energy crisis or repel alien invaders should the need arise, but if he had his way, he’d prefer to be left alone to explore the boundaries of dangerous science. Just as a hobby, of course. Retirement isn’t easy though. If the boredom doesn’t get him, there’s always the Venusians. Or the Saturnites. Or the Mercurials. Or . . . well, you get the idea. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s also the assassins of a legendary death cult and an up-and-coming megalomaniac (as brilliant as he is bodiless) who have marked Emperor for their own nefarious purposes. But Mollusk isn’t about to let the Earth slip out of his own tentacles and into the less capable clutches of another. So it’s time to dust off the old death ray and come out of retirement. Except this time, he’s not out to rule the world. He’s out to save it from the peril of THE SINISTER BRAIN!

Anne—  A Life Rebuilt by Sylvia Ruth Graham—A Life Rebuilt: The Remarkable Transformation of a War Orphan chronicles an odyssey that spans sixty years, three countries, and thousands of miles. Remarkably, at age sixty-two, Sylvia developed a relationship with a young man, forty years her junior, and against all odds she moved to Germany to live with him. Here she began to share the story of her family’s fate with German students, senior citizens, and even neo-Nazi groups. By doing so, Sylvia reconciled with the people she had feared and loathed, and resurrected the lives of the parents she cannot remember, and cannot forget. Heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring, this memoir of loss, love, resilience, belonging, identity, and authenticity has a surprising resolution, told in an intimate voice with candor, substance, and heart.

Darlene Owen—  Life & Death in Old Peking by G. D. Sheppard—note: this will be published in September 2018 as A Death in Peking by Graeme Sheppard but the content is the same. The brutal murder of Pamela Werner sent shockwaves through the streets of pre-communist Peking in 1937. Outraging the population inside the walled capital, the killing baffled the local police, becoming one of the most mysterious unsolved crimes in the history of modern China. But while investigations have returned to the cold case over the years in an attempt to provide new insight into the perplexing killing, none have come close to joining the pieces of the infamous crime, until now. With renewed interest in the murder stemming from the discovery of new evidence, Life and Death in Old Peking uses a range of primary sources to delve into the historical context of early 20th century China to dissect the many facets of the crime itself. Scrutinising the named suspects, analysing potential political motives and implementing newly discovered evidence gathered from the British Embassy, Life and Death in Old Peking uncovers the untold story of not only Pamela but also the lives of the many foreigners living in a war-torn China that have all but been forgotten.

Caryn—  Miss Julia Raises the Roof by Ann B. Ross—With her husband Sam off on a trip to Europe, Miss Julia reckons it’s about time to roll up her sleeves and be of some use to her community. It’s then that she hears that the nosy do-gooder Madge Taylor and the new pastor Rucker are embarking on a mission to buy up the vacant house next door to Hazel Marie and establish a group home for wayward teenagers. No stranger to taking in the down-and-out herself, Miss Julia is shocked to learn Madge and the pastor are keeping the project a secret. When Miss Julia and Hazel Marie start investigating, though, they uncover a far less philanthropic plot for the house that even Madge doesn’t know about–one that could change the quiet, peaceful neighborhood forever.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Controversy

The you-know-what hit the fan the other day when word got out that the The Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, had changed the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award because of some of the content of the Little House books. Opinions have been, well, very opinionated but author Judy Alter has put into words what I feel on the subject. Judy has graciously given me permission to reprint her post and you can also find it on her blog, Judy’s Stew

Monday, June 25, 2018

Did you read Little House on the Prairie?

Big flap today in an online listserv to which I belong but which I won’t name. It seems that the American Library Association has voted to rename what was previously the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award as the Children’s Literature Legacy Award, because the Little House books contain racial stereotypes and slurs. Well, I never thought about it before, but yes they do: most Indians are bad (and they’re never Natives) and blacks are highly suspect. No, there’s no suggestion of censoring the books—except that changing the name of the award is in itself a form of censorship.

Folks wrote in to passionately attack of defend that decision. So I can’t resist chipping in with my two cents. First of all, the new name is institutionally dull, while naming the award for a beloved children’s writer gives it a certain vibrancy.

Beyond that, I have watched with dismay as favorite books were removed from some school library shelves—most of the Twain canon, To Kill a Mockingbird, and others. I was once told that one of my young-adult books would be removed if the superintendent of a certain school district knew it contained the ethnic slur, “kike.” Which brings to mind what a historian and beloved friend of mine, C. L. Sonnichsen, always claimed a book had to be—appropriate to time and place. Writing in the late nineteenth century, I would never have used the term kike in a contemporary book, but mine was a historical novel. The term was common, if deplorable, in early nineteenth-century East Texas when many Jewish immigrants landed at Galveston and made their way north into East Texas. To disallow it is to change history—and we can’t do that.

There’s that old saying, “He who doesn’t know history is doomed to repeat its mistakes.” By sanitizing literature, we rob out children of the rich history that books provide. The canon of literature has created the culture we enjoy today—you cannot understand slavery or the American South today without reading Twain. You really cannot understand the western settlement experience without reading Wilder—yes, settlers were invading lands held by the Native Americans, but they didn’t know better. The concept of manifest destiny was alive and well, and they thought they were fulfilling the promise of the new land. Can we not let children read that and help them through the difficult passages?

One story circulated today was of a eight-year-old Native American girl who read Wilder and burst into tears because of the attitude toward her people. Instead of damning the books, could we not explain to that child that was the attitude of the day and we have made much progress to overcome it, but we still have miles to go? Put it in context. Ah, there’s the key—context.

And in this rush to sanitize Wilder, critics overlook the positive values of the Little House books—the emphasis on fortitude, self-reliance, persistence, all those values American are supposed to cherish.

I am afraid in our zeal for political correctness we will sanitize all of western civilization’s literature and rob it of it richness and glory. No, I wouldn’t use such terminology in a book set in today;s world, but neither will I condemn the writers who came before me and on whose contributions to tradition I build my works.

A little common sense, please.

Let’s Have a Giveaway!

I need to let loose of some old ARCs
(AdvanceReading Copies) so take a
gander at these and leave a comment
below to enter the drawing. You can name
your top choice but I make no promises 😉

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Cat Got Your Diamonds by Julie Chase—Grandeur and opulence are everything in the famed New Orleans Garden District where pets are family and no bling is too big. Opening Furry Godmother, pet boutique and organic treat bakery, is Lacy Marie Crocker’s dream come true–until the glitter gun used to make her Shih Tzu tutus becomes a murder weapon. And Lacy becomes public enemy #1. Now Detective Jack Oliver is hounding Lacy, and her Furry Godmother investor wants out before his name is tarnished by association. To make matters worse, a string of jewel heists with suspicious ties to the murder case has New Orleans residents on edge. To save her dream, Lacy must take a stand, put her keen eyes to work, and unravel what really happened at her shop that night. But can Lacy sniff out the killer cat burglar in time to get her tail-raising designs on the catwalk?

Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore—Something really strange is happening in the City by the Bay. People are dying, but their souls are not being collected. Someone—or something—is stealing them and no one knows where they are going, or why, but it has something to do with that big orange bridge. Death Merchant Charlie Asher is just as flummoxed as everyone else. He’s trapped in the body of a fourteen-inch-tall “meat puppet” waiting for his Buddhist nun girlfriend, Audrey, to find him a suitable new body to play host. To get to the bottom of this abomination, a motley crew of heroes will band together: the seven-foot-tall death merchant Minty Fresh; retired policeman turned bookseller Alphonse Rivera; the Emperor of San Francisco and his dogs, Bummer and Lazarus; and Lily, the former Goth girl. Now if only they can get little Sophie to stop babbling about the coming battle for the very soul of humankind . . .

Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner—Otis and Meg were inseparable until her family abruptly moved away after the terrible accident that left Otis’s little brother dead and both of their families changed forever. Since then, it’s been three years of radio silence, during which time Otis has become the unlikely protégé of eighteen-year-old Dara—part drill sergeant, part friend—who’s hell-bent on transforming Otis into the Olympic swimmer she can no longer be. But when Otis learns that Meg is coming back to town, he must face some difficult truths about the girl he’s never forgotten and the brother he’s never stopped grieving. As it becomes achingly clear that he and Meg are not the same people they were, Otis must decide what to hold on to and what to leave behind. Quietly affecting, this compulsively readable debut novel captures all the confusion, heartbreak, and fragile hope of three teens struggling to accept profound absences in their lives.

Dying for a Taste by Leslie Karst—After losing her mother to cancer, Sally Solari quits her job as an attorney to help her dad run his old-style Italian eatery in Santa Cruz, California. But managing the front of the house is far from her dream job. Then in a sudden twist, her Aunt Letta is found murdered in her own restaurant, and Sally is the only one who can keep the place running. But when her sous chef is accused of the crime and she finds herself suddenly short-staffed, Sally must delve into the world of sustainable farming–not to mention a few family secrets–to help him clear his name and catch the true culprit before her timer runs out.

Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez—Emperor Mollusk. Intergalactic Menace. Destroyer of Worlds. Conqueror of Other Worlds. Mad Genius. Ex-Warlord of Earth. Not bad for a guy without a spine. But what’s a villain to do after he’s done . . . everything. With no new ambitions, he’s happy to pitch in and solve the energy crisis or repel alien invaders should the need arise, but if he had his way, he’d prefer to be left alone to explore the boundaries of dangerous science. Just as a hobby, of course. Retirement isn’t easy though. If the boredom doesn’t get him, there’s always the Venusians. Or the Saturnites. Or the Mercurials. Or . . . well, you get the idea. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s also the assassins of a legendary death cult and an up-and-coming megalomaniac (as brilliant as he is bodiless) who have marked Emperor for their own nefarious purposes. But Mollusk isn’t about to let the Earth slip out of his own tentacles and into the less capable clutches of another. So it’s time to dust off the old death ray and come out of retirement. Except this time, he’s not out to rule the world. He’s out to save it from the peril of THE SINISTER BRAIN!

A Life Rebuilt by Sylvia Ruth Graham—A Life Rebuilt: The Remarkable Transformation of a War Orphan chronicles an odyssey that spans sixty years, three countries, and thousands of miles. Remarkably, at age sixty-two, Sylvia developed a relationship with a young man, forty years her junior, and against all odds she moved to Germany to live with him. Here she began to share the story of her family’s fate with German students, senior citizens, and even neo-Nazi groups. By doing so, Sylvia reconciled with the people she had feared and loathed, and resurrected the lives of the parents she cannot remember, and cannot forget. Heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring, this memoir of loss, love, resilience, belonging, identity, and authenticity has a surprising resolution, told in an intimate voice with candor, substance, and heart.

Life & Death in Old Peking by G. D. Sheppard—note: this will be published in September 2018 as A Death in Peking by Graeme Sheppard but the content is the same. The brutal murder of Pamela Werner sent shockwaves through the streets of pre-communist Peking in 1937. Outraging the population inside the walled capital, the killing baffled the local police, becoming one of the most mysterious unsolved crimes in the history of modern China. But while investigations have returned to the cold case over the years in an attempt to provide new insight into the perplexing killing, none have come close to joining the pieces of the infamous crime, until now. With renewed interest in the murder stemming from the discovery of new evidence, Life and Death in Old Peking uses a range of primary sources to delve into the historical context of early 20th century China to dissect the many facets of the crime itself. Scrutinising the named suspects, analysing potential political motives and implementing newly discovered evidence gathered from the British Embassy, Life and Death in Old Peking uncovers the untold story of not only Pamela but also the lives of the many foreigners living in a war-torn China that have all but been forgotten.

Miss Julia Raises the Roof by Ann B. Ross—With her husband Sam off on a trip to Europe, Miss Julia reckons it’s about time to roll up her sleeves and be of some use to her community. It’s then that she hears that the nosy do-gooder Madge Taylor and the new pastor Rucker are embarking on a mission to buy up the vacant house next door to Hazel Marie and establish a group home for wayward teenagers. No stranger to taking in the down-and-out herself, Miss Julia is shocked to learn Madge and the pastor are keeping the project a secret. When Miss Julia and Hazel Marie start investigating, though, they uncover a far less philanthropic plot for the house that even Madge doesn’t know about–one that could change the quiet, peaceful neighborhood forever.

Just leave your comments below—
the winning names will be drawn on
Friday evening, June 29th.