THE GIFTED SCHOOL by Bruce Holsinger

July 21, 2019

7/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE GIFTED SCHOOL by Bruce Holsinger. William Morrow (May 28, 2019). ISBN 978-0062861214. 432p.

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QUEEN BEE by Dorothea Benton Frank

July 19, 2019

7/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

QUEEN BEE by Dorothea Benton Frank. William Morrow (May 28, 2019). ISBN 978-0062861214. 432p.

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THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF SAM HELL by Robert Dugoni

July 18, 2019

7/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF SAM HELL by Robert Dugoni. Lake Union Publishing (April 24, 2018). ISBN  978-1503948976. 447p.

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THE UNBREAKABLES by Lisa Barr

June 23, 2019

6/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE UNBREAKABLES by Lisa Barr. Harper Paperbacks (June 4, 2019). ISBN  978-0062895394. 352p.

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THE FRIENDS WE KEEP by Jane Green

June 4, 2019

6/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE FRIENDS WE KEEP by Jane Green. Berkley (June 4, 2019). ISBN  978-0399583346. 384p.

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THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK by Kim Michele Richardson

May 24, 2019

5/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK by Kim Michele Richardson. Sarah Crichton Books (April 16, 2019). ISBN  978-0374156022. 368p.

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MIRACLE CREEK by Angie Kim

May 8, 2019

5/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MIRACLE CREEK by Angie Kim. Sarah Crichton Books (April 16, 2019). ISBN  978-0374156022. 368p.

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DAISY JONES & THE SIX by Taylor Jenkins Reid

March 30, 2019

3/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

DAISY JONES & THE SIX by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Ballantine Books (March 5, 2019). ISBN  978-1524798628. 368p.

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THE WEIGHT OF A PIANO by Chris Cander

February 3, 2019

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From the publisher:

For fans of Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, Annie Proulx’s Accordion Crimes, Amanda Coplin’s The Orchardist

A tour-de-force about two women and the piano that inexorably ties their lives together through time and across continents, for better and for worse.

In 1962, in the Soviet Union, eight-year-old Katya is bequeathed what will become the love of her life: a Blüthner piano, built at the turn of the century in Germany, on which she discovers everything that she herself can do with music and what music, in turn, does for her. Yet after marrying, she emigrates with her young family from Russia to America, at her husband’s frantic insistence, and her piano is lost in the shuffle.

In 2012, in Bakersfield, California, twenty-six-year-old Clara Lundy loses another boyfriend and again has to find a new apartment, which is complicated by the gift her father had given her for her twelfth birthday, shortly before he and her mother died in a fire that burned their house down: a Blüthner upright she has never learned to play. Orphaned, she was raised by her aunt and uncle, who in his car-repair shop trained her to become a first-rate mechanic, much to the surprise of her subsequent customers. But this work, her true mainstay in a scattered life, is put on hold when her hand gets broken while the piano’s being moved–and in sudden frustration she chooses to sell it. And what becomes crucial is who the most interested party turns out to be. . .


I had read a review of this book that intrigued me, so I started reading it. A few hours later, I read the last page. Cander is a terrific storyteller, she drew me in and kept me turning the pages. There were plenty of surprises throughout the story; although some readers may figure them out, I did not.

The book opens with the construction of a Blüthner piano, a fascinating tale about a brand of piano I had not heard of, that is supposedly in the same class as a Steinway. I quickly realized that the piano would be a character in this book. Cander makes it possible to grow attached to an inanimate object, for her characters and the reader.

The story then moves back and forth in time, following the piano through two storylines. The way the book is laid out they are easy to follow. The main characters are mostly well developed, the secondary characters not as much, but had they been, the book may have gotten too unwieldy. Rather like moving a piano, a task that is difficult and quite the metaphor in this book. I loved the way the stories unfurl and wind around one another, carefully building towards an intertwined resolution.

This is an excellent read sure to be beloved by book groups as there is much to discuss here, from the immigration of Russian Jews to the relationships that are so well depicted. Highly recommended.

2/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE WEIGHT OF A PIANO by Chris Cander. Knopf (January 22, 2019).  ISBN 978-0525654674.  336p.

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WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens

December 14, 2018

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From the publisher:

#1 New York Times Bestseller
A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

 


The publisher’s description doesn’t begin to do this book justice. It came out last summer and I missed it completely. I started hearing about it from my library patrons and was surprised to discover a very long waiting list for the book. I finally got it and read it in one night. It was unputdownable.

Kya is a most unusual character and we meet her when she is about five years old. Her coming of age is an astonishing story and beautifully told. The writing is simply superlative, the descriptions just bring this unusual setting, a marsh in rural North Carolina, to life.

The story is written in two timelines which are easily followed, and eventually meet. There is a mystery at the heart of this story and the ending was a shocker.

I haven’t taken Reese Witherspoon’s recommendations very seriously but I will now. Where the Crawdads Sing is perfect for book discussion and anyone who enjoys a good story, engaging characters and beautiful writing. I loved it.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens. G.P. Putnam’s Sons; First Edition, First Printing edition (August 14, 2018). ISBN 978-0735219090. 384p.

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