“Swampwalker’s Journal: A Wetlands Year” by David Carroll
“Educated” by Tara Westover.
An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who grew up in Idaho, the youngest of seven children. Despite her radical upbringing of extreme religious ideas, total distrust of all things mainstream (schools, doctors, government, most people), and dangerous family dysfunction, she manages to leave her survivalist family and go on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.
“The Music Shop” by Rachel Joyce
Frank’s shop is a haven for lovers of music and lost souls. Frank himself sees no reason to emotionally go beyond the walls of his store and his memories until a beautiful woman in a green coat faints in front of the store. It’s wonderful on audio too.
“Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi
This debut novel is a West-African inspired fantasy for the older YA crowd that is action-packed, heart-wrenching, and raw. The book is not for the faint of heart, but it is a positively captivating story of magic, brutal injustice, faith and survival. I’m counting the days until book 2 is released in 2019!
“The Punishment She Deserves” by Elizabeth George “The Punishment She Deserves” by Elizabeth George. Detective Inspector Lynley and Detective Sargent Havers investigate the death of an accused pedophile in a holding cell after the local police claim the death to be a suicide. I found the 700 page book to be worth every moment I spent with it, but don’t know if that is because I have followed the series to this the 20th book or possibly because the characters are all so beautifully drawn by George. (probably both!)
“Lilac Girls” by Martha Hall Kelly
“Left” by Mary Hogan. This book isn’t due to be published until June, but I received an Advanced Readers Copy from the publisher.
When I began reading Hogan’s slim volume, I wasn’t so sure I liked it as the author seemed to be trying too hard with her exuberant use of adjectives, but soon that all fell away as I was sucked into the story. Think hints of “Mrs. Dalloway” crossed with “Still Alice” and peppered (spotted?) with a canine character more fleshed out than some human characters I’ve encountered. The main character, Fay, married an older man, Paul, a sitting judge in NYC. They’re on a dream vacation in Spain when something goes terribly wrong. This event sparks a series of incidents in their lives and Fay knows her life will never be the same again. To cope, she begins building another (imaginary) life. It’s a heart-breaking story at its core, but one I loved none the less.
“Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine” by Alan Lightman. It was the title that first caught my attention. I love the coast of Maine and have spent some time on its islands, large and small—Monhegan, Harbor, Marsh, Louds…and more. And the stars. Oh, the stars. The author is a scientist, intent on understanding in concrete terms the details of our physical universe, but one night in Maine, those bright stars drew him deeper, to a place that shimmered with hints of something far greater than mere scientific understanding. This remarkable book explores the dance between science and spiritual things in almost poetic terms. This non-scientist couldn’t put it down!
“The Rules of Magic” by Alice Hoffman. This is a fun mind break with a heart warming message