April Books

Because I have been required to rest a lot after my knee injections for three weeks in a row, I have gotten a lot of reading in. I mentioned last month that I’ve signed up for the book site NetGalley, where publishers offer e-books pre-release in exchange for honest reviews. I have three more great ones for you today! But first, I have three books that were enjoyable that are older.

Who is Maud Dixon? By Alexandra Andrews – A roller coaster ride that begins slowly, and builds to a stunning peak with unexpected twists. Brilliantly plotted, with pacing that picks up as the story goes, this is a thriller set in the world of publishing and writing. When the elusive Maud Dixon hires an assistant to help her with her next book, then accompany her to Morocco, things get very complicated. Although the concept of a writer stealing another’s work is not new, this story is very different in its execution and outcome. Highly Recommend, I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads! Speaking of Goodreads, please ‘like’ my review there, and ‘friend’ me if we aren’t friends already, I am recently changed my name there from Craftnut to Carole @ From My Carolina Home on Goodreads.

All Systems Red – Book 1 of the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells – My Sweet Babboo talked me into reading the first one of this YA series. The books are shorter novellas, about 150 pages, and quick reads. They are sci-fi stories of a security cyborg, part human and part electronic, assigned to protect a survey team on another planet. It has hacked its own governor module so it can ignore updates it doesn’t want, download entertainment to occupy its time, and generally make its own decisions. It calls itself a Murderbot because it believes that it killed people in the past, although its memory of the event is vague. Things get interesting when another survey team on the same planet ceases communicating.

Next in the series is Artificial Condition by Martha Wells. Murderbot sneaks into the facility where the ‘incident’ happened to try to figure out what really happened. He takes a security job in order to further his plans, and gets more involved than he wanted. His accomplice is a transport bot he named ART, an acronym that made me laugh, and I won’t spoil it for you. This was a fun romp, continuing the story, and I will be getting the rest in the series soon. They are very easy, short novellas, and I can finish one in a day. There are 7 books so far in the series, and I do recommend them for short reads.

I found out something new as I have been reading not-yet published works. Buying an author’s book is not the only way to support them. I was surprised to learn that requesting the book from your local library is also supportive. It tells the library what its patrons want to read, and guides purchasing decisions like how many copies of a book they will buy. Requesting a new release prior to its publication also gets you on the hold list in a higher position, so you get to read it sooner. If you find an author you really like, checking out their other books provides support for that author when a new release comes out. Librarians will check that author’s popularity with their patrons to also help guide decisions to buy a new release. So keep that in mind for these next three reviews, all are worth the effort!

Dreams of Arcadia by Brian Porter – Divorced veterinarian, Nate, tired of the rat race of city life, decides to take a job offer to join a practice in his father’s hometown, a place he remembers from his own childhood before his father’s death. This is a story of a man searching for himself and his place in the world, a place he can call home. As he settles into a rural life, coming to terms with his teenage daughters growing up without him being close, he discovers all he thought he knew about his father’s family might not be the complete story. There are beautiful descriptions of country scenes, gritty scenes of the things a veterinarian must see and do to care for farm animals in distress, and an underlying mystery of the circumstances surrounding his father’s accidental death. The writing is easy to read and builds the story slowly, at a pace consistent with rural life. Thank you to Netgalley for an advance e-reader copy in exchange for an honest review. Highly Recommend, five stars. This one is set for release on June 27th, but so far it isn’t listed anywhere for preorder. I’ll update this as I get more information. If you want to request that your local library buy it, the ISBN number is 9798986787480.

Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly by Marie Bostwick – Esme loses her marriage and her job, and returns to her North Carolina home too late to learn what her grandmother wanted to tell her. She has to come to terms with her estranged mother, and a grandfather sliding into dementia, all while trying to help save the family retreat from financial ruin. The story is of resilience and perseverance in the face of disappointment and tragedy, picking up the pieces again and again, refusing to let problems defeat her, learning from the past, forgiveness, and looking to the future. Heartbreakingly tender at times, and laugh out loud funny at others. Quilts are an integral part of the story, from Esme’s discovery of her grandmother Adele’s unconventional style, to the stories that are discovered about her past. I enjoyed the rich character development, and layered storylines. Highly recommend, five stars! Available for pre-order now, release date May 29. Thank you to Netgalley for an advance e-reader copy in exchange for an honest review. Be sure to ‘like’ my review on Goodreads for this one too (mine is about 15 or 16 down, but it will go up as it gets more likes).

I am thrilled that Marie Bostwick will be in Hendersonville on June 1, in a book signing and author event sponsored by our local library. I have corresponded with Ms Bostwick in the past, and she did a giveaway of one of her previous books on the blog. We’ve been chatting again, and I can’t wait to meet her in person! If you are local, you can still get tickets for the event at the library at THIS LINK. Once again, supporting this author event will tell our library that we want her books.

At the Coffee Shop of Curiosities by Heather Webber – Beautifully written magical realism novel about dealing with grief and loss, finding a way through and embracing change. Written from two viewpoints in the same time frame, the reader sees the events from Ava’s perspective, then Maggie’s perspective, advancing the story with each chapter. Both are dealing with loss and regret, in different ways. The characters have depth, and the reader sees each one’s struggle to come to terms with circumstances. There are underlying themes of forgiveness, and acceptance. The magic is subtle, and charming. Minor characters have substance, and even the furry companions have personality. The reader becomes engaged with the story early on, and it becomes harder to put down as a mystery needs solving. This delightful story will capture your heart, and hold it until the end. Recommend. Publishes August 1, so ask your library to put it on their list, or pre-order.

Oh, and one more new book! Milk Street has done it again with a fabulous new cookbook called Noodles. You can see my pink sticky notes I’ve already put in for recipes to try. I pulled some of the noodles from my pantry, and I have even more I didn’t pull. I like keeping a variety on hand of all kinds of pasta shapes along with other types like ramen and rice noodles for Asian dishes. This is a wonderful book for noodle lovers, with main course recipes, side dish recipes, and vegetarian options using every kind of noodle in international cuisines. I made one recipe last week, and will be making more soon. I’m watching my carbs, but My Sweet Babboo can have all he wants. I made the Lemon Parmesan Fettuccini and there wasn’t one noodle left over. The book releases next week, and you can pre-order now.

Do any of these look good to you? What have you recently read that you can recommend?

23 thoughts on “April Books

  1. Julie

    They all look good! The Murderbot interests me, I haven’t read any good sci-fi in a long time. You do such nice reviews.

  2. Shari

    Thanks so much for your book reviews. I have requested the “Maud” and “bot” book from the library. Tried to getbEsme but not yet available. I suggest the book “Persian Pickle Club”.

  3. Rheanna

    Thanks so much for the reviews. Always looking to add to my To Be Read (TBR) pile. :). Esme Cahill sounds especially interesting.
    I just finished This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. Taking place in Minnesota during the 1930’s, 2 brothers are sent to live at an Indian School after the death of their father. The horrible way the children are treated motivate them to runaway along with one of the other students at the school and a former teacher’s daughter. The Vagabonds set off down river in an attempt to reach the Mississippi and an aunt down in St Louis MO. Loved the story telling and was heart broken by all the trials the characters had to endure.

  4. I’ll look for you on Goodreads! I look for reviews before I’ll invest my time in a book. I put Maud into my library app and it told me they’ll notify me if they buy it. Woo hoo!

    Marie Bostwick’s book is on my wish list. Her character dialogues are realistic and insightful.

    I recently listened to Quiet by Susan Cain which awed me with its facts. The book moved along faster than most nonfiction books. This book is head and shoulders more insightful than Myers=Briggs on introverts.

    So excited that you are reviewing soon to be released books. I envision getting in the library queue before the book is in high demand.

  5. You always have such great recommendations. I am “between” books right now. Just finished up one of the numerous Agatha Raisin mysteries as an audio book. HOW LUCKY you are to attend a book signing with Marie Bostwick! Love her blog!

  6. Dianne

    I recently read “The Ice Age” by Margaret Drabble & was astonished how like the news today was the news in the era she was writing about. Fascinating and a ripping yarn.

  7. Elle

    The Dictionary of Lost Words
    A People’s History of the United State
    No Time Like the Future (Michael Fox)
    We Were Never Here
    Sister Dear
    The Good Life: Lessons From the World’s Longest Scientif Study on Happiness

    These are a few of the 23 books I’ve read so far this year. And I have 30 finished quilts. And I started an exercise program and have gifted 10 # to the Universe. So I really do more than read! 🙂

  8. Michele Bretz

    My husband is the reader of the family and wondered who he needed to contact to do book reviews? He loves writing as well and is looking to do something like this for retirement.

  9. Diann@ Little Penguin Quilts

    You always have good reviews and I’m interested in quite a few. I’ll definitely try the Murderbot series! Our town’s One Book this year is Remarkably Bright Creatures, and the author is coming to town next Tuesday. My book club friends and I all have tickets for the author talk. So looking forward to it!

  10. I always look forward to your book choices. I ordered 3 of them from the library already! I do have trouble signing into Good Reads from my computer (I don’t have a phone) but will keep trying – my yr old grandson is coming over today – maybe he can do it for me! LOL

  11. Sharon Gratz

    Carole, I have also read a new book……released April 13th. It’s geared toward YA fantasy/mystery, but everyone who has left a review in various places have loved it, as did I. My oldest daughter is the author. Mercy Markos, by Sally Gratz Garcia is her first published book.

  12. Becky

    Thank you for your reviews. I’ll be reserving a couple from my library. I just read an older book (2012) and enjoyed it to the end. Whiskey & Charlie by Annabel Smith is about a family sorting through their family dynanmics, trying to understand the others’ viewpoint. It kept my interest well past midnight to finish it.

  13. Mary

    Interesting line up of books, thanks Carole. I have ordered from the Library the Heather Webber one. With luck I should be first on the list to get it. :))

  14. Sharon F

    Marie Bostwick is already one of my favorite authors, so thanks for the alert that she has a new book coming out.
    Two books I’ve recently read that I especially enjoyed are The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah and The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan. They’re not new, but I thought they were engaging reads

  15. Connie S. Wolfe

    After finishing Remarkably Bright Creatures, I borrowed The Soul of An Octopus by Sy Montgomery which was referenced as used by the author for research. That book was so good that I borrowed The Hummingbirds’ Gift by the same author. Not sure where I got the tip, but I also finished The Rooster Bar by John Grisham. I enjoyed seeing the for-profit universities get exposed in this book.
    Thanks for giving me more suggestions for reading material. I’ve made reservations with my library.
    Connie W.

  16. Marsha

    My daughter-in-law is an actress in L.A. She filmed a movie this past fall called Killerbot but after a change in producers its name was changed to Murderbot!

  17. Susan Salo

    Catching up with you a little late. I immediately put my name on the list for Maud and Esme. Your reviews are so helpful!

  18. Rachel M

    I always enjoy your posts but look most forward to your bookie related ones. I devoured the Murderbot series. I am (not so patiently) awaiting the next release in the series. Martha Wells has created such a fascinating world. Two books I highly recommend: 1) The Measure by Nikki Erlick and 2) An Immense World by Ed Yong. The Measure’s premise poses the best ‘ask a friend’ question- if you could open a box with a string to determine the length of your life, would you look? It is my go-to query; I’ve been delighted by the thoughtful and surprising responses. In An Immense World Ed Yong seeks to broaden our understanding of how animals perceive the world. I learned a ton and can’t help but try and shift my perspective as I walk around. Thanks for such a lovely blog!

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