Having met author Michael Clark in person, I was so excited to read his debut novel, Joint 72. This book is part mystery and part coming of age story and I loved it! Joint 72 follows the life of main character Dub Wiggins. The novel opens with Dub about to lose his job at the boarding school where he works and where he attended school. In an effort to seek revenge, Dub decides to write a memoir about his time at the school and expose it for the mistreatment of students that he experienced first hand. Following along with Dub as he writes his memoir, the reader begins to understand the incidents and circumstances that have led to Dub becoming who he is. The writing is excellent and and the character development is outstanding. I connected with the characters and cared about what happened to them. I loved getting read about Dub's transformation and "second coming of age". This one is definitely worth the read! (less)
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The Yellow Bird is a beautiful WW2 historical fiction novel that tells the story of a Jewish mother and daughter trying to hide from the Nazis in Poland. The writing is beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. There are gut wrenching scenes throughout the story, yet hope is the underlying theme. The imagery in the form of the yellow bird, as well as the musical references, keeps the reader connected with the characters and despite the harsh circumstances, it is heartwarming to read about the relationship between the mother and daughter. I cried at the end and felt like the entire story had been building up to that one moment at the end. It's an incredible debut novel!
The Giver of Stars is a historical fiction novel that tells the story of the women who were members of the traveling pack horse librarians during the Great Depression in America. The women characters in this story are strong and unique and so admirable. Against popular opinion about women's roles at that time, these women set out to take books to the families in the Kentucky mountains. It's a story of love and friendship and courage. I would highly recommend this for book clubs, as my book club read it and we had a wonderful discussion about it (less)
This one is for all you Texans! The First Emma is a wonderful historical fiction novel based on the life of Emma Koehler, wife of San Antonio brewer, Otto Koehler. This book is fantastic from the first page and I could not put it down. It contains all the elements that I love in historical fiction - strong women characters, a little romance and historical details about a subject that I am not familiar with. The plot of this book surrounds the murder of Emma Koehler's husband, Otto. Otto was a wealthy Texan who built the Pearl brewing company in San Antonio. He was a successful businessman and his murder was headline news all over the country. The details of his murder and the woman who murdered him, are all straight from actual newspaper clippings which makes the story so intriguing. I fell in love with all 3 Emmas (yes there are 3 characters in this book named Emma) and I learned so much about the brewing industry. DiMaio weaves the brewing industry details so beautifully into the story that it is not boring at all. I have read all of Di Maio's books and I easily say this is my favorite!
Thank you Random House Publishing for this free review copy. I just finished The Queen's Fortune and I thoroughly enjoyed it! If you're a fan of historical fiction, this is one for you! In fact, all of Allison Pataki books are excellent historical fiction. This one tells the story of the historical figure Desiree Clary, who has a fascinating life that I knew nothing about. The book starts with Desiree meeting Napolean Bonaparte and his brother. Little does Desiree know, but her entire life will intersect with Napolean and his family. I learned so much about Desiree Clary from this book, but also learned so much about Napolean. I love how Pataki introduces readers to women in history who have not received the attention they deserve in the history books. This one is meticulously researched and is based off letters and memoirs written by Napolean himself. I highly recommend this book!
Thank you Berkely Publishing for this free review copy. I finally finished this and I love it! I knew a little about the Kennedy family, but through this book, I developed a true admiration for Jackie Kennedy. The book does an excellent job of showing her strength and accomplishments. It is told in Jackie's voice which I really enjoyed. Jackie's life was filled with tragedy but this book reveals the strong, loving side of her that I don't think was portrayed much in the media. If you're a Kennedy fan, this is definitely one to add to your list!
Thank you Harper Collins and William Morrow books for this free review copy.