Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

I feel the need to preface this review with a discussion on genre. The assignment of a genre to a book is little more than a marketing strategy whose purpose is to place the book in the section of the bookstore where it will sell the most copies. There are those who live and die by their chosen book genres. Some book snobs wouldn’t deign to read young adult novels, thinking those books are for kids and kids alone. But the truth is, a book can be many different things to many different people. A fantasy novel can also be a literary novel, and a YA novel can also be for adults. This is one of those rare novels that – in my opinion – is for everyone.

The cover of The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

I first discovered The Girl Who Drank the Moon on one of the many literary blogs I troll for book recommendations. I added it to my Goodreads Want-To-Read list without realizing it is a children’s book. I then placed an online hold on the book, still unaware that my local library houses this particular text in the juvenile books section.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill”
Book Reviews

Book Review: When the English Fall by David Williams

I just finished When the English Fall by David Williams, and wow! This is a great read for anyone who is into apocalypse scenarios.

Continue reading “Book Review: When the English Fall by David Williams”

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Book Review | Canine: A #werewolf story with a twist

I recently did a book swap with author Kaitlin Bergfield at the Bloomington Public Library’s local author fair, where we were both featured authors.

Canine by Kaitlin Bergfield

The book summary for Bergfield’s novel, Canine, piqued my interest right away. The premise was really unique, and that’s hard to find! Werewolves are everywhere in fiction these days, but this story comes with a twist (a few of them, actually!) In most of these stories, the average werewolf character is a human who happens to turn into a dog sometimes, usually around the full moon. But the protagonist of this story chooses to live life as a dog. And not just any dog, but as a pet dog! Continue reading “Book Review | Canine: A #werewolf story with a twist”

Book Reviews

Book Review: Pimp in the Pulpit and Pimp in the Pulpit II

Pimp in the Pulpit and Pimp in the Pulpit II by Thomas Leslie McRae are two episodic novellas that would make for some great television—not network television due to the strong language, but Netflix or Hulu could turn these stories into a first-rate original series.

Pimp in the Pulpit covers

My favorite thing about these two novellas is the conversational tone that feels like you’re sitting at a cookout next to your gossipy old aunt who always keeps you caught up on family dramas. But this old aunt isn’t just gossipy, she’s hilarious, and she doesn’t mind repeating every foul word that flew during each new altercation! The insults were one of the most creative parts of these stories, and they had me laughing and shaking my head from page one. Continue reading “Book Review: Pimp in the Pulpit and Pimp in the Pulpit II”

Valley of the Bees

Sustainable Arts Foundation loves Valley of the Bees!

Earlier this year, I applied for a competitive writing grant through the Sustainable Arts Foundation. The winners were recently announced, and though I did not win this time, the jurors who reviewed my application packet had great things to say about Valley of the Bees. The following comments are direct quotes from the very nice rejection email they sent: Continue reading “Sustainable Arts Foundation loves Valley of the Bees!”

Blogging, Book Reviews, Valley of the Bees

Valley of the Bees Book Blog Tour: Stop #1

Author T. S. Dickerson
Author T. S. Dickerson

The With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 book blog tour has officially begun! My first stop is taking place today (right now!) over at author T. S. Dickerson’s blog, where she has posted a book review of my latest novel, which will release on September 1, 2016.

Go check out this book review now, and then check back here later to find out where the With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 book blog tour will be stopping next.

Do you want to be a part of this blog tour? Contact Me for details!

Buy The Book

For a limited time, With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 is available for only 99 cents. Pre-order your copy today before the book returns to its regular price of $3.99!

Continue reading “Valley of the Bees Book Blog Tour: Stop #1”

Book Reviews

Book Review: Spinster by Kate Bolick

Spinster by Kate BolickIn this fascinating memoir, Kate Bolick turns the history of women and marriage in America as I learned it completely on its head. According to Bolick, much of what has been spouted as truth by the  mainstream these past few decades  turns out to be false. Not just false, but one bald-faced lie after another.

This text so resonated with me, I could not put it down. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way about a book, and I have to wonder what has changed in me since my early 20s that I now find it so hard to relate to the characters in the books I read the way I used to. Why is no one writing about strong women whose lives do not revolve around “the question of when to marry and who?” Continue reading “Book Review: Spinster by Kate Bolick”

Bibliography, Book Reviews, Writing Prompts

An analysis of “Plaintext” by Nancy Mairs

The silhouette of a large saguaro stands at su...
This image has nothing to do with my post. I just think it’s pretty. And soothing. It’s my blog and I’ll do what I want. | The silhouette of a large saguaro stands at sunset in Saguaro National Park on the east side of Tucson, Arizona. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The following is my third course autobiography for the course I am taking on women’s writing. I just have to write one more of these and then a 20-page final paper, and my homework will be done for the semester! In this piece, I wrote about how I would use this text to create a framework for a creative nonfiction essay assignment. I think this would also make an excellent writing prompt!

The Embodiment of Labels

In Plaintext, Nancy Mairs explores how individuals embody the labels that are placed on them by society. In her essay, “On Being a Cripple,” Mairs chooses to define herself as a “cripple” regardless of the fact that others may wince at the word. She says, “Perhaps I want them to wince. I want them to see me as a tough customer, one to whom the fates/gods/viruses have not been kind, but who can face the brutal truth of her existence squarely. As a cripple, I swagger” (9). She challenges the politically correct euphemisms that others use and would have her use to describe herself. In many ways, she refuses to meet society’s expectations of her as a cripple, even seeking to change the meaning of the word. I would like to teach this text in a writing course where I could ask students to examine their own labels, how they embody their labels, and how societal expectations based on these labels impact the individual, as well as how the individual can impact society by either meeting or shattering those expectations. Continue reading “An analysis of “Plaintext” by Nancy Mairs”

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Response to “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal”

The front cover of Lamb: The Gospel According ...
The front cover of Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood PalISBN-10: 0380813815 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m in the process of editing my “Papers” project that I am planning to publish here in a few weeks, and I keep stumbling across book reviews and other pieces that I think will also make interesting blog posts. This morning, I came across this reader response I wrote for one of my favorite books that I have ever read for school and thought I would share it with you. Here’s a throw-back Thursday review of a book that I read in the spring of 2011.

Response to “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal”

After thousands of years, the mystery of Christ’s whereabouts from the time he was 12 until the age of 30 has been solved. Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, is Biff’s often hysterical account of the life of Christ during this oft-debated period. Throughout this novel, Moore explores such deep theological questions as the divinity of Christ and free will, using modern language sometimes reminiscent of a contemporary television sitcom. Moore manages to integrate a high level of intellectual humor throughout most of the novel. For me, Lamb has earned the cliché, “laugh out loud.” In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that Biff himself had coined the phrase to begin with.

I’m not normally one to cry or laugh out loud when reading any book, but the sarcasm and irreverence used to create humor throughout Lamb definitely had me going. For example, when Joseph asks Biff if he wants to become a stonecutter, Biff replies, Continue reading “Response to “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal””

Book Reviews, Memoir

The Stories We Tell | An analysis of Mary Gordon’s “The Shadow Man: A Daughter’s Search for her Father”

Pieter Claeszoon - Still Life with a Skull and...
Pieter Claeszoon – Still Life with a Skull and a Writing Quill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This semester, I am taking a graduate-level course in women’s life writing, partially in an attempt to generate interesting and intellectual content for my blog. Throughout this course, we will be writing “course autobiographies” on some of the texts we are reading. The following is my analysis of Mary Gordon’s The Shadow Man: A Daughter’s Search for her Father.

The stories we tell

The Shadow Man: A Daughter’s Search for her Father is the story of a woman who has based her life on the testimony of unreliable witnesses. Her entire sense of self is disrupted when she realizes that many of the stories she has lived by are not true. While this is not the type of text I would normally choose to read for fun, I do believe it holds value as a teaching tool. In addition to telling the story of Mary Gordon’s search for her father, this text also sets an example of how all humans construct stories about who they are. Continue reading “The Stories We Tell | An analysis of Mary Gordon’s “The Shadow Man: A Daughter’s Search for her Father””