1. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery
Banned Books Week
September 26 to October 2
I plan on joining this year for the first time. I’m hoping this challenge will help me get these books read, they’ve all been on my tbr list for a while. I started Because of Winn Dixie a month or so ago but only got a few pages read. Johnny Got His Gun is a book I read in Jr. High and have never forgotten and have wanted to read again.
Because Of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo ~ Listen
Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo ~ Read
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck ~ Listen
Call Of The Wild by Jack London ~ Read/Listen
If you have read any of these, did you like them? Are you joining Banned Book Weeks?
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Narrated by: Cynthia Farrell, Deacon Lee
Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
Release date: 05-14-19
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister, Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag), and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now, there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of…lucky.
With Christina Lauren’s “uniquely hilarious and touching voice” (Entertainment Weekly), The Unhoneymooners is a fun and charming romance that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt unlucky in love.
I had planned to listen to this audiobook last year when it was released but I got sidetracked by other books. A while back I decided to put it at the top of my list and I’m glad I did.
At the wedding of Amy and Dane, the only two people who didn’t get food poisoning were Amy’s twin sister Olive and Dane’s brother Ethan, who had a mutual dislike for each other. Since Amy had won a free honeymoon, she talks Olive into going in her place, and Ethan ends up going too. At first they try to talk to each other as little as possible but since they are supposed to be married they have to do some activities together. Slowly their walls start coming down and they “might” be enjoying each other’s company, just a little.
I enjoyed the back and forth banter between Olive and Ethan. They did a lot of activities and I enjoyed reading about how they reacted to each other.
This was a good book that kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I will say that not everyone was who they pretended to be and things got very interesting.
Although I thought the book was funny at times, I didn’t think it was “hilarious”. I enjoyed this book from the beginning and recommend it to anyone who likes a little drama and/or romance.
Bark Park! by Trudy Krisher
Illustrated by Brooke Boynton-Hughes
Age Range: Baby – 8 years
Lexile Measure: AD110L (What’s this?)
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (April 3, 2018)
Come along and play with all of the dogs at Bark Park in this exuberant rhyming picture book that’s a treat for animal lovers of any age.
Welcome to Bark Park! There are dogs running and dogs relaxing, dogs riding and dogs sliding, dogs with a buddy and dogs getting muddy—all before returning home to bubble bath, a cozy dog bed, and sweet dreams of—what else?—being back at the park. Bark! Bark Bark!
This is such a cute book for kids (and adults), especially for anyone who loves dogs. The story is told in rhyme and has cute and colorful illustrations. I love that the book had a variety of dogs. The story was entertaining and cute and I think it would hold a child’s attention.
Would recommend this for any young child.
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: She Writes Press (May 5, 2020)
While recovering from a near fatal illness, Nancy Pressly discovers a treasure trove of family material stored in her attic. Haunted by images of her grandparents and her parents in their youth, she sets out to create a family narrative before it is lost forever. It takes several more years before she summons the courage to reconstitute a path back to her own past, slowly pulling back the veil of amnesia that has, until now, all but obliterated her memory of her childhood.
In this sensitive and forgiving meditation on the meaning of family, Pressly unravels family dynamics and life in a small rural town in the 1950s that so profoundly affected her―then moves forward in time, through to her adulthood. With an eye attuned to visual detail, she relates how she came into her own as a graduate student in the tumultuous sixties in New York; examines how she assumed the role of caretaker for her family as she negotiated with courage and resilience the many health setbacks, including her own battle with pancreatic-related cancer, that she and her husband encountered; and evokes her interior struggle as a mother as she slowly traverses the barriers of expectations, self-doubt, and evolving norms in the 1980s to embrace a remarkable life as a scholar, champion of contemporary art, and nationally recognized art museum strategic planning consultant. Full of candor and art-inspired insight, Unlocking leaves the reader with a deep appreciation of the power of art and empathy and the value of trying to understand one’s life journey.
The author of this book has done what I’ve often thought about doing, which is to research past generations of my family.
Nancy Pressly spent hours and hours researching all the information she could find about her family, all while going through serious health and personal issues. Her love of her family definitely comes through in this book.
I found all aspects (the research & what she found, her personal and professional life) of this book extremely interesting. I loved the photos she added to the book.
The book is full of facts but doesn’t have a text book feel like other books I’ve read where a lot of research was involved. Her writing style makes you want to keep reading and I did, in one sitting which is rare for me, especially for a memoir.
Very interesting & I would recommend it!
Thanks to Teddy @ Premier Virtual Author Book Tours
for a copy of this book for review
Follow Unlocking: Memoir of Family and Art by Nancy L. Pressly Tour
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 4 Kick off & Interview
Miller Amazon June 5 Review
Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews June 8 Review & Guest Post
Vicki I’d Rather Be At The Beach June 9 Review
Linda Lu Goodreads June 15 Review
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 18 Review
Betty Toots Book Reviews June 23 Review
Bookgirl Goodreads June 26 Review
Just Another Reader July 9 Review
Gud Reader Goodreads July 14 Review
Infantina The periodical gazette July 29 Review & Excerpt
Amy Locks, Hooks and Books July 31 Review
This giveaway is for 3 print copies open to the U.S. only. There will be 3 winners. This giveaway ends August 1, 2020,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
Release date: 10-08-19
Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So, when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.
The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.
What happens to them – and to the men they love – becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity, and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.
Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic – a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.
Soon to be a major motion picture!
I think anyone, especially women, who loves books or historical fiction or hf based on true events would love this book! I don’t think I’ve ever heard about Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky so this book was an eye opener. I like to think that if I was living in that area at that time, I too would have joined these women. I can’t imagine not having easy access to books.
The women where very brave, having to deal with people who didn’t want books loaned to their family members. The mountains were hard to navigate and bad weather was a whole other issue. They had to memorize all their routes so they didn’t get lost, maybe forever.
Some of the women had personal things they had to deal with along with the worry of the trips, but they all were very strong and dealt with things as they came, and forged a friendship with each other that was a very strong sisterhood.
The descriptions of the area and what was going on brought this book alive. Julia Whelan did a great job with the narration.
I loved this book so much! It’s the first book by Moyes that I’ve read and now I want to read more.
An unforgettable novel about the power of friendship and kindness by the New York Times bestselling author of Pay It Forward.
In the summer of 1969, fourteen-year-old Lucas Painter carries a huge weight on his shoulders. His brother is fighting in Vietnam. His embattled parents are locked in a never-ending war. And his best friend, Connor, is struggling with his own family issues. To find relief from the chaos, Lucas takes long, meandering walks, and one day he veers into the woods.
There he discovers an isolated cabin and two huge dogs. Frightened, he runs. And the dogs run with him. Lucas finds unusual peace in running with the dogs, and eventually he meets their owner, Zoe Dinsmore. Closed off and haunted by a tragic past, Zoe has given up. She doesn’t want to be saved. She wants out. But Lucas doesn’t want her to go, and he sees an opportunity to bring more than one friend back into the light. It’s either the best or worst idea he’s ever had, but Lucas isn’t giving up on Zoe or Connor.
Their unexpected connection might be the saving grace that Zoe thought she’d lost, that Connor needs, and that Lucas has been running toward.
This is the sixth book written by this author that I’ve read, and like all the others, I loved it.
This book starts with Lucas who is now in his 60’s, remembering his life as a child. He remembers it wasn’t as good as he’d have liked it to be. His brother is fighting in Vietnam and his parents fight all the time. His friend Conner’s parents don’t talk to each other and he is pretty much isolating himself.
One day as Lucas is walking in the woods he sees a cabin and the two big dogs that live there. He’s afraid they might attack him so he starts running and the dogs run after him. Soon he realizes the dogs aren’t going to hurt him, they just want to run with him. So he goes back every day and the three of them run which helps him get rid of a lot of the stress he’s carrying.
Along the way he meets the characters in this story, and they were all interesting. Through them Lucas learns that what you see isn’t always what you get with people, and everyone has something to offer whether it’s friendship, a lesson, or something else.
Another winner from this author.
Giveaway: Sorry, US only
If you’d like a chance to win this book, leave a comment letting me know
Giveaway ends 12-19
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than thirty published and forthcoming books. An avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she has released her first book of photos, 365 Days of Gratitude: Photos from a Beautiful World.
Her novel Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association (ALA) for its Best Book for Young Adults list, and translated into more than twenty-three languages for distribution in over thirty countries. Both Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List, and Jumpstart the World was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. Where We Belong won two Rainbow Awards in 2013, and The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award in 2015.
More than fifty of her short stories have been published in the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and many other journals, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for the O. Henry Award and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in The Best American Short Stories.
She is founder and former president (2000–2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.
Connect with Catherine
Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph or two of a book that I’m reading or plan to read soon
Feel free to join in by posting your own FCFPTI and linking below
It Would Be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo
We buried my mother with her things: her blue dress, her black flats, and her multifocals. We couldn’t say goodbye in any other way, couldn’t take those things from her. It would have been like returning her to the earth incomplete. We buried it all, because after her death we were left with nothing. Not even each other. That day we were struck down with exhaustion. She in her wooden box; I on a chair in the dilapidated chapel, the only one available of the five or six I tried for the wake. I could hire it for only three hours. Instead of funeral parlors, the city now had furnaces. People went in and out like loaves of bread, which were in short supply on the shelves but rained down in our memory whenever hunger overcame us.
Have You Seen Luis Valez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Narrated by Michael Crouch
Listening Length: 11 hours and 30 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audible.com Release Date: May 21, 2019
Raymond Jaffe feels like he doesn’t belong. Not with his mother’s new family. Not as a weekend guest with his father and his father’s wife. Not at school, where he’s an outcast. After his best friend moves away, Raymond has only two real connections: to the feral cat he’s tamed and to a blind ninety-two-year-old woman in his building who’s introduced herself with a curious question: Have you seen Luis Velez?
Mildred Gutermann, a German Jew who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, has been alone since her caretaker disappeared. She turns to Raymond for help, and as he tries to track Luis down, a deep and unexpected friendship blossoms between the two.
Despondent at the loss of Luis, Mildred isolates herself further from a neighborhood devolving into bigotry and fear. Determined not to let her give up, Raymond helps her see that for every terrible act the world delivers, there is a mirror image of deep kindness, and Mildred helps Raymond see that there’s hope if you have someone to hold on to.
I know I say “I loved this book” a lot. I really do love books so it’s unusual for me to find a book that I don’t love. So for this book, I’ll say I triple loved it! It is a great story of a teenager with a heart of gold. He is everything a mother wishes for her child to be. He is like my children. They also are very caring people.
I loved listening to how the friendship between Raymond and Mildred came about and how it grew with time. They both added so much to each other’s lives and made them so much better! From the beginning I was hoping they would become close friends and “save” each other.
So much happened in this book and I couldn’t wait to get back to listening so I could find out what was going to happen next. I felt like I knew these people and was sad when the book ended. It touched me deeply and I know I’ll listen to it again. I’m hoping there is a “book 2” so I can find out what happened to everyone after the book ended.
I’ve loved every book by Catherine Ryan Hyde that I’ve read, but this one is on the top of my favorites. The narrator did a great job too!
This audiobook is free with Kindle Unlimited so why not give it a try? If you do, I hope you love it as much as I did.
I’d rate this a 10★ and it will definitely be on my most favorite books ever & my favorites list for 2019.