Monday, March 19, 2018

Saints for All Occasions; J. Courtney Sullivan and Census; Jesse Ball

Both of these books were ones I finished in February but neglected to post my mini reviews.  I enjoyed them both even though they were nothing alike.

 Saints for All Occasions; J. Courtney Sullivan
Knopf - 2017

I fell in love with the cover art of Saints for All Occasions and had a hunch I'd enjoy the book, which I did.

In 1957 two young sisters, Nora 21 and Theresa Flynn 17 are bound for the US from Ireland hoping for a better life.  Nora is the older sister and a mother figure for Theresa.  Theresa is everything that Nora is not - smart, popular, out going. Nora imagines her sister will have the perfect life in America but, things don't exactly work out the way she imagined that they would.  Theresa is seduced by a married man and finds herself pregnant and Nora must protect her sister and do whatever it takes. Set in (2) time periods late 1950s and then 2009, the sisters must confront the past and deal with the choices that were made many years earlier.

I liked the great character development and found this to be an enjoyable story overall.

4.5/5 stars

Census; Jesse Ball
Ecco - 2018

Census was a quick and somewhat unusual read but, I liked it very much.

The story begins with an unnamed man digging his own grave. The man, a widower, a former surgeon is gravely ill and his concern is not what is about to happen to him but, what will happen to his son who has Down's Syndrome.

The man decides to take a job as a census taker for the government and father and son take to the road in an unnamed country, visiting various counties (A-Z). Each chapter is short and represents one of the counties along their journey and the individuals they meet, on what will be their final journey together.

This story is a brief meditation on loss, love and the meaning of life. It was written as a tribute to the author's brother who died of complications of Down's Syndrome at the age of 24.

4/5 stars

3 delightful Books for Kids from Candlewick Press

 I'm a Duck; Eve Bunting
Candlewick Press - 2018

I'm a Duck, is a perfect spring or Easter, 2018 book choice for your favorite little one. Written by beloved children's author, Eve Bunting. The beautiful watercolor illustrations by Will Hillenbrand will appeal to kids and adults as well.

The story is about a sad, little duck who is too frightened to go in the water -- afraid of sinking and drowning.  His friends, Big Frog and Owl, try everything the can to encourage him to coax him into practicing his water skills.  Before long this little duck's confidence begins to grow and he is doing what ducks love to do best.


Windows; Julia Denos
Candlewick Press - 2017

Windows, by Julia Denos is a lovely book which encourages exploring the neighborhood in which you live. Doing this at dusk, when neighbors return home from work and the lights begin to go on in the tall houses within this somewhat urban neighborhood.  A young boy takes his dog for a walk just before dark and gazes at the houses, cats and other critters along his walk. He takes time to notice the many tall windows, low windows and activity in his neighborhood but, ultimately returning home to his own house and the windows he loves best.

The sparse prose does not detract from the overall charm of this book.  The vivid, detailed illustrations throughout by, E.B. Goodale, make this a book that children will want to choose again and again.


The Tip Toeing Tiger; Philippa Leathers
Candlewick Press - 2018

The Tip Toeing Tiger by Philippa Leathers is sure to appeal to your preschool child.  What kiddo does not love to tip toe around and try to scare someone?  Such is the goal of Little Tiger.  He's small and clumsy and in the end he scares himself by seeing his own reflection in a pond.

Lovely earth tone illustrations and just enough words to hold a pre school child's interest or to challenge new readers.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

New Book Arrivals

I've been a bit lax with the blog these days but,  I'm still enjoying reading as much as ever.  Here are the new books which arrived by mail over the last month.  Don't they look good?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Lucky Us; Amy Bloom

Every Tuesday Vicki @ I'd Rather Be at the Beach now hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where readers share the first paragraph, maybe two, of a book that they are reading or plan to read soon. This week's book is our book group selection for March.

Lucky Us; Amy Bloom
Random House - 2016

Part One

I'd Know You Anywhere

"MY FATHERS WIFE DIED. MY MOTHER SAID WE SHOULD DRIVE down to his place and see what might be in it for us.

She tapped my nose with her grapefruit spoon. It's like this, she said.  Your father loves us more, but he's got another family, a wife, and a girl a little older than you.  Her family had all the money. Wipe your face."

Based on the intro, would you read more or pass on this one?