Saturday, December 31, 2022

Book Review: "Demon Copperhead" by Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver's new novel is an immensely powerful retelling of David Copperfield which follows a young man’s struggles while growing up in Appalachia.⁣

⁣ Wow. I’ve been meaning to read this for a while but figured I’d hold off until I had some time to really get into it. Kingsolver has really created a masterpiece.⁣

⁣ “If a mother is lying in her own piss and pill bottles while they’re slapping the kid she’s shunted out, telling him to look alive: likely the bastard is doomed. Kid born to the junkie is a junkie.”⁣

⁣ Damon arrives in the world in dramatic fashion, born in a trailer to a teenage mother addicted to drugs. His orange hair, inherited from his dead father, makes him stand out, in a corner of the world where standing out isn’t what you want to do. With his mother in and out of rehab, he finds a surrogate family in the trailer next door. ⁣

⁣ But Damon, or “Demon,” despite being too wise for his age, doesn’t have an easy life ahead. His story is one of abuse, violence, loss, being shuffled in and out of foster care, child labor, and so much more. This is not an uncommon story in Appalachia, especially in the midst of the opioid epidemic.⁣

⁣ I’ve never read David Copperfield, but that wasn’t integral to the story. And make no mistake—this is a bleak story; I’ll admit that it did get a little repetitive at times. But Demon is a narrator and a character I won’t soon forget.⁣

Book Review: "My Darkest Prayer" by S.A. Cosby

Sometimes doing a favor can cause more trouble than you bargained for.

It’s good to see S.A. Cosby starting to get a bit more recognition for his books. The truth is, however, he should be a household name. He’s just that good.

Nathan is a former Marine and deputy sheriff who works at his cousin’s funeral home. His life has been touched by tragedy but he’s known as a solid guy, one with a short fuse, but one who can get things done for people when all other channels fail.

When Reverend Esau Watkins is found dead, local law enforcement rules it a suicide. But a few of his parishioners don’t agree, and they offer to pay Nathan to look into things. He figures he’ll either find it was a suicide, or find enough evidence to convince the state police to investigate.

Nathan expects resistance from the local police, but he doesn’t realize he’s about to step into a gigantic web of corruption and lies that is more far-reaching than he could imagine. It’ll take everything he has—and then some—if he’s to survive.

I just love the way Cosby writes. His characters are flawed and complex, but you can’t help but root for them. This is a little slower-paced than his other books but it’s excellent.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Book Review: "The Light Pirate" by Lily Brooks-Dalton

A powerful, poignant book about a world being destroyed by climate change, a story about love, loss, and family, both biological and chosen.

A powerful hurricane is heading for Florida. These storms are becoming more frequent and more destructive with each passing year. Frida, very pregnant, wants to evacuate, but her husband Kirby, a lineman, tries to assure her everything will be fine.

In the calm before the storm, Frida’s two young stepsons go missing. Kirby sets out to find them. And as the storm rages, Frida goes into early labor all alone, giving birth to a baby girl she names Wanda, after the hurricane in which she arrives.

The book follows Wanda through her life, from her curious childhood through her adolescence, as she deals with more loss but learns more about the world around her and how to understand the changes occurring. It also tells of her adulthood, in a world vastly different than she could imagine, and the need for connection.

This is a bleak book in that it paints a picture of our country wrecked by climate change until the point it’s no longer recognizable. There’s a lot of loss in the book as well. But it’s such a beautifully told story of love and survival that I couldn’t get enough of.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Book Review: "Shameless Puckboy" by Eden Finley and Saxon James

In this third book of the Puckboys series, the steamy and romantic shenanigans continue.

Yes, it’s time for my monthly hockey romance! I was so happy to see that a fourth book in this fun and sexy series will be coming out in the spring. Not only are these books hot and romantic, but they also explore feelings of self-worth and what it’s like to be an openly gay player in the NHL.

Oskar is one of the bad boys. Long hair, tattoos, muscles, and a ton of skill on the ice. (And he’s never shy to tell you that skill carries into the bedroom, too.) His penchant for public sex and scandal has been a PR nightmare for his team, but at this point he’s too valuable to the team (and too expensive) to be traded.

After three of his staff failed to keep Oskar under control, Lane, the team’s PR manager, decides he needs to take matters in his own hands. He’s vowed to stick like glue to Oskar and make sure he doesn’t sneak out for hookups or cause any other trouble.

Of course, the biggest challenge is how much Lane is attracted to Oskar, and how close proximity makes temptation even harder to resist. Oskar knows this, of course, and takes every opportunity to make Lane uncomfortable. But while there’s no doubt that Oskar is sexy and talented, Lane starts to see another side of him, and starts to understand that the bravado helps to protect Oskar from getting hurt.

Can Lane save Oskar from himself—and save his own job? Will Oskar follow the rules or find himself in yet another compromising position? This series is just so good—I love the combination of romance, steam, and banter, as well as the terrific cast of supporting characters.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Book Review: "The Kind to Kill" by Tessa Wegert

Don’t you love it when a series keeps getting better and better?

I am so glad that Tessa Wegert has written her fourth book in the Shana Merchant series!! This has become one of my favorite series, and Shana is a phenomenal character. She’s a badass but she’s really vulnerable as a result of all she’s been through in dealing with a serial killer and the fallout when their identity was revealed.

A senior police investigator in the Thousand Islands in upstate New York, she’s hoping that the chaos will die down now that the killer’s case is finished. But the national publicity surrounding it—and Shana’s role—continues to rile up the community, and many call her fitness for duty into question.

In the heat of summer, the famous Pirate Days festival is about to bring thousands of people to the area, giving local businesses a much-needed boost. But when a visitor disappears after an argument with her husband, another murder is the last thing the community needs—or Shana, for that matter. Because the feeling that the community was safer before Shana arrived is starting to grow—and she’s not sure they’re wrong.

I kept the plot a bit vague because while you can read this as a stand-alone, it’s even better if you start with the first book in the series, Death in the Family. These books are mysteries and psychological thrillers with some fantastic character development, even a little romance.

Hope the series keeps on going! Thanks so much to Suzy Approved Book Tours, Severn House, and NetGalley for inviting me on the tour and providing an advance copy of the book. This publishes 12/6. Don’t miss it!