Tag Archive | South Carolina

Blind Guide to Stinkville, by Beth Vrable (book review) – she’s not ‘that blind’, right?

book cover of A Blind Guide to Stinkville by Beth Vrabel published by Sky Pony Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comLearning her way around a new town with limited sight,
coping with albinism in the sunny South,
wondering if Mom’s depression will ever lift…

Maybe Alice is right to think that she will never feel at home in the small paper mill town of Sinkville.
Or maybe she can find connections that will make her new life less stinky.

Travel to Alice’s new town today by visiting your local library or independent bookstore where you can find A Blind Guide to Stinkville as 2015 hardcover or 2016 paperback. Watch for its follow-up title, A Blind Guide to Normal, too (published in October 2016).

Do we let our first impressions of others make them ‘other’ to us?

Book info: A Blind Guide to Stinkville / Beth Vrabel. Sky Pony Press, 2015 (hardcover), 2016 (paperback). [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Moving to a small South Carolina town means new challenges for sight-impaired Alice, but as she tries to get people to not see her as different, she discovers new friends and connections that are at risk when her parents discuss sending the 12 year old to school for the blind.

If people want to think that her farting Shi Tzu is a Seeing Eye dog, Alice won’t correct them.
If her best friend back in Seattle is suddenly busy with parties and boys, Alice can’t do much about that.
But when Mr. Hamlin may be forced into a nursing home, mean girl Eliza lies about Tooter attacking her, and Dad spends even more time at work as Mom retreats into depression, Alice is ready to fight!

Writing her essay for the local contest will fix everything…unless it can’t.

Followed by A Blind Guide to Normal, this story of unlooked-for changes and hopeful new beginnings finds “not that blind” Alice finding new perspectives and friendships. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

One Paris Summer, by Denise Grover Swank (book review) – out of tune with romance

book cover of One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank published by Blink Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comDad is remarrying in Paris,
new French stepsister hates her,
No way she will find love in the City of Light!

Sophie is so mad at Dad for leaving them behind, for not following through on promised piano, for… everything!

More complex than the usual ‘summer romance in a romantic city’ story, Sophie has to work through her feelings of abandonment, apprehension about auditions and college costs, and misunderstandings with her own brother (and all the French teens in Camille’s group, all of them!) as she decides if a summer love is worth potential heartbreak.

Paris – alone or with a special someone?

Book info: One Paris Summer / Denise Grover Swank. Blink, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Meeting him was the best part of her summer in Paris, but since Matthieu is friends with the new stepsister who hates Sophie, even the prospect of using his mom’s piano to practice for upcoming auditions loses its luster.

And with her former crush traveling over to stay with her brother Eric for a few weeks (Dad is trying to make peace after leaving them behind in South Carolina after the divorce), it’s all going to get complicated… really, really complicated!

Is it okay to like Matthieu when he was Camille’s friend first?
When will Dad understand that abandoning his kids for a fancy French wife is unforgivable?
Why can’t she clear her mind and just practice, practice, practice for music scholarships?

Mixed messages from Matthieu may be more than errors in translation when Sophie’s emotions swing wildly during One Paris Summer as first love may be just around the corner.

Sweetly, by Jackson Pearce (book review) – gingerbread house, werewolves on the prowl

book cover of Sweetly by Jackson Pearce published by Little BrownWelcome to Mysterious Monday and a truly frightening retelling of a classic fairy tale.

The story of Hansel and Gretel really is scary when you look at it afresh, as candy, cakes and a gingerbread house lure children into mortal peril in the eerie forest of the witch.

Jackson Pearce has given the Grimm Brothers version a mordant twist as rumors of possible witches near a small Southern town turn out to be much worse than anyone feared.

Published just last week, Sweetly  will undoubtedly make the bestseller list – but you found it here first! Grab it at your local independent bookstore today, or get on the waiting list at your library – and lock your doors when you read it!

Book info: Sweetly / Jackson Pearce. Little Brown, 2011. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: In the woods of their childhood, Gretchen and Ansel lost their sister – even as the three held hands and ran from the sounds, she was snatched away from them. Their mother died from grief, their father mourns still, their stepmother finally pushing the now-teen siblings out of their home.

Driving as far away as their old car and their savings will carry them, they roll to a stop near Live Oak, a small South Carolina community that’s dwindling away as modern life tempts its young people away to the big city. Young chocolate-maker Sophia invites them to stay with her at the charming sweetshop outside of town, lonely after her father and sister have left. Her candy creations taste magical; her hospitality is warm and authentic.

The townspeople of Live Oak are rather wary of the newcomers, but do warn them of strange occurrences in the woods near Sophia’s place and even about Sophia herself. The missing persons posters in the Post Office all feature older teen girls – if they just moved away to the city as Sophia says, why haven’t they contacted their families?

As Sophia’s famous girls-only chocolate festival approaches, Gretchen meets a young man who claims knowledge about the monsters in the woods, monsters that sound like the ones in her recurring nightmares about her twin’s disappearance.

Can Gretchen trust Samuel when folks in Live Oak say he’s part of the trouble in the woods? Is there a link between the chocolate festival and the disappearing teens? Have she and Ansel walked into a trap created by their own past?

Enjoy this spooky, enthralling take on the Hansel and Gretel story with the lights on, windows locked, and shades drawn against what may be lurking in the woods near your house! (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)