Anne Z.'s blog

This Week's Review at Inklings

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean and Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez

Review by Sue Domis

Two young adult novels have stood out for me this year.  Each story centered around  young women. The first novel is Toykyo Ever After.  It takes place in Northern California and moves on to Tokyo. The second book is a sports novel in Argentina.  The books are both about a girl maturing and involves a love story.  I enjoyed each book for different reasons.  One, because it involved soccer and a strong willed character, and the other because of the locations and the love story.

    Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean is a book about best friends and has a close mother daughter relationship.  Izumi Tanaka is a high school girl growing up in a small Northern California college town.  Her mother is a botany professor and is a single parent.  Izumi's mother has never talked about or identified Izumio's father. Izumi and her friend discover a poem written to her mother by a love interest that was written the same year Izumi was born.  This begins a search to find out who the author is.  With help from the internet the girls discover a man who attended the same school, at the same time Izumi's mother did.  Then we are reading about life in Japan and the Japanese royal family.  Is Izumi part of that family?  The novel follows Izumi and her mother coming to grips with the truth which her mother had never shared.  Eventually, after much arguing, Izumi's mother allows Izumi to try to contact her father.  After reading a lot about the small California town Izumi grew up in, the next location is Japan, as Izumi tries to be accepted by  a very large Japanese royal family,  The young girl tries to follow. proper social   etiquette but she makes some painful  mistakes.. A handsome young imperial guard is assigned to Izumi and may be a love interest for her.  This was a book that was fun to read.  There is a lot of family, friendships, and trying to fit in.  And may I say again there is a lot of romance in it to enjoy.

   Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez is another book about a young school girl. This book takes place in Argentina.  Camila is a young student and she is a soccer player.  Camila's brother is a beginning professional player, & his close friend Diego. is already a popular pro. Camila and Diego grew up together. It's no surprise that Camila is also a good player.  She plays on her school  team and wants to play on a women's professional team.  Camila's parents don't approve of women playing sports and don't even know about her goal.  After one of Camila's school games, because of her power and fury, she is nicknamed Furia.  Furia spends her life at games, practices and working to keep her grades up.  As Diego becomes more successful and popular. he starts to pressure Furia to give up her soccer goals to become part of his life as his wife.  This is a feminist book about girls and women being strong in their lives and endevours.  It's about not giving up their dreams and hard work to live in a man's shadow. Camila's mother became pregnant at a young age and had to give up her greams and marry Camila's father.  Their marriage is an unhappy one.  Camila's father cheats on her mother and drinks a lot.  Furia doesn't want to be forced into another unhappy situation.  

   Furia and Toykyo Ever After are about different girls in different countries, but they are both about independent young women who are willing to work to become a success on their own merits.  Each book is well written and they are  very powerful and inspiring.

Our Favorite Reads in August!

Our Favorites in August and its links:

- Mexican Gothic print/audio

- The Bookshop of Second Chances print/audio

Ruff and Tumble print/audio

Greenlights print/audio

Tad and Dad print

Neon Gods print/audio

This Week's Review at Inklings

 

I love suspense thrillers!

They make a great summer read:  take one to the beach or on your next camping trip. Here are three that came out this year that impressed me as the best of the bunch. Get ready to be spooked by these new page-turners!

Local Woman Missing gets my award for a twisty ending. I promise that you will not see it coming! Eleven years ago, within the span of a couple of weeks, two  women and a young girl go missing. Today, a young woman named Delilah staggers out of the woods with a horrendous story to tell. With narration alternating between the present and the time of the crime we find out about Delilah, her mother and  the other woman gone missing. It seems all families have their secrets. And some of those secrets are deadly.

The Sanatorium wins the award for atmosphere and setting.  Deep in the Swiss Alps sits an abandoned TB sanatorium. An astute investor renovates it to become Le Sommet, a premier 5-star resort hotel. Our main character, Elin, is invited by her estranged brother to meet his fiancee, the assistant manager of the newly opened hotel. Le Sommet is stark and modern, and yet somehow reminiscent of its dark Edwardian past. This contradiction just adds to the creepy gothic feel of the novel. Then there’s a murder-or two--or three. Top that off with an avalanche that isolates the hotel from the rest of the world and you’ve got an eerie, sinister serial killer thriller. It was just what I was in the mood for!  Although the plot was a little unrealistic and required a certain amount of suspension of belief it was very entertaining. I found myself reading past my allotted time!

Finally, there’s Such a Quiet Place. I award it “Best Character Development”. Ruby and Harper live in a gated community on an idyllic lake.  Most of the residents have their working lives entwined  with the local college. Besides that, they are all mostly the same age and have similar interests. That sense of community is put to the test when one of the resident couples is found dead in their home. Consequently, Ruby is convicted of the crime and sentenced to 20 years in prison. After just 14 months she is out while discrepancies in her case are being sorted out and she awaits a new trial. Rather than leaving the community, she unexpectedly returns to Harper’s home. She swears she is innocent and she’s here to prove it--and to make the guilty party pay. Such a Quiet Place rips the cover off a quiet neighborhood and lays bare the secrets hidden there. It’s an honest look at how people might react to a disturbing event, herd mentality, and the fact that everyone is broken in some way or another.

Why wait for Halloween to get some shivers?  Grab that patio chair and icy lemonade. Find some shade or go poolside. Or just relax and crank up the AC!  There are some really good new suspense thrillers out there to enjoy.

Review by Luanne Clark

Signed Books

A huge thank you to everyone that joined us for Bookstore Romance Day!

If you missed the opportunity to order online and/or couldn't attend, we've kept a few signed copies instore (pictured).

You can order those through our website (just do a quick search for the titles you want), in-person, or by sending Anne a message (anne@inklingsbookshop.com).

 

This Week's Review at Inklings

Books, Music, and PrizesBookstore Romance Day Raffle Basket

Inklings Bookshop, English Country Market, Gasperetti’s Floral, Caffeine Connection Cafe, Pet Pantry and Yakima Beads Rocks and Candy Emporium have joined for a Saturday of music, a large raffle prize, a few prize bags, and a meet & greet with 7 amazing local WA authors this Saturday, August 21st., for the third Bookstore Romance Day. The music will start at 1pm, with the book signing starting at 2pm. The event will go until 4. 

With that in mind, we at Inklings would like to tell you a little more about the authors joining us this Saturday!

Please note that many of these titles are independently publish and it is hard for us to carry them on  a regular basis, so some of them might only be available on the day or as a special order.

  • Dalyn Weller

The most local of all the locals! Dalyn Weller is right here in Yakima and you might know her from her devotional book previously sold in-store. What you might not know is that she also writes, as she puts it: Inspirational Romances with a bit of grit. She will bring two titles with her on the day, Love Happens at Sweetheart Farm and I’ll be Yours for Christmas.

  • Katee Robert

Katee Robert is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author and her books have sold over 1 million copies! Her latest book, a retelling of Hades and Persephone: Neon Gods, has been printed and reprinted a few times since its release June 1st. 

  • Asa Maria Bradley

Asa Maria Bradley is a bestselling author of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. She grew up in Sweden surrounded by archaeology and history steeped in Norse mythology, so it is no surprise that her books have plenty of that! She now lives in the Pacific Northwest and we are lucky to benefit from all her creativity and experience. 

  • Lucy Gilmore

Lucy Gilmore (or you might know her as Tamara Morgan), is an Inklings bestselling author! Isn’t that lovely? You might remember meeting her when she came to visit us with her Christmas themed book: Puppy Christmas, in 2019. Her newest book carries the same charm and wit and we are sure you will love it: Ruff and Tumble. Besides, if you own a puppy, you just have too!

  • Shelli Stevens

Shelli is another New York Times Bestselling author to join us! She says she read her first romance novel when she snatched it off her mother’s bookshelf at the age of eleven. One taste and she was forever hooked!  

  • Marie Tremayne 

If you fell in love with the British TV shows Bridgertons and Downtown Happy, here is a local author to give you a historical romance fix. She graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in English Language and Literature. While there, a copy of Pride and Prejudice ended up changing her life, and she decided to study the great books of the Regency and Victorian eras. Now she enjoys writing her own tales set in the historical period she loves.

  • Anna Alexander

Anna Alexander is the award winning author of the Heroes of Saturn and the Sprawling A Ranch series. With Hugh Jackman’s abs and Christopher Reeve’s blue eyes as inspiration, she loves spinning tales of superheroes finding love.

We believe there is a book for just about everyone between these fabulous 7 ladies. Come support your local stores and these great authors on the 21st! We look forward to seeing you. 

This Weekend at Inklings!

This Week's Review at Inklings

 Let’s Talk About Hard Things by Anna Sale

review by Tony Hoffart

Let’s Talk About Hard Things is a collection of stories and anecdotes that illustrate the challenges and benefits of making the effort to talk about difficult topics with those we love.  The author, Anna Sale pulls some of the stories from her podcast; Death Sex and Money.  She named the podcast after the things that affect all of us, but are difficult if not forbidden to be discussed in polite company.  The book is divided into five parts corresponding to the topics covered; Death, Sex, Money, Family and Identity.  

I found the topic of Death to be soothing in a way.  I’m the sort of person who gets awkward when trying to talk about death or soothe someone in mourning, and Sale confirms that this is normal.  The people who often think they are good at it can actually be the worst.  Being frank and honest in conversations about death should be your guiding star.  

The topic of Sex starts with the relatively benign aspects of sexual preferences and then shifts to an eye-opening account of extreme infidelity.  It’s hard to withhold judgement with some of the stories, but the perspective is that these things need to be discussed.  Sex is humanity at our most vulnerable, and thus conversations about it can be fraught.  

The topic of money is also about priorities.  Money defines us in ways we don’t like to admit.  Sale touches on the different ways people relate to money from a psychological standpoint. The accounts she provides show how a difference in priorities could make one person’s seemingly rational spending can be seen as a serious betrayal in their partner’s eyes.  I feel like money is the topic we all need to be better at talking about and this chapter has a lot of insight.

Family felt like more of a medium for hard conversations than a topic of them to me.  Family can be challenging to talk with candidly because they know us so well.  They know our hot buttons and might have created a few, and sometimes resist our attempts to change.  This chapter talks about letting go, about choosing when to stand our ground, and when to chill out on our own personal take letting our brethren have their own views.  Sometimes we can choose to be right, or choose to have peace.  We need to decide which path is correct for us.

Identity talks about politics and social issues.  Having lived through the past 5 years, I don’t imagine anyone reading this doesn’t understand how fraught these topics can be. The accounts in the book grapple with the question of how do we have a particular identity or view whilst maintaining relationships with people who don’t share that identity or sometimes openly disdain it.  The answer of course is you have to listen and decide if the relationship is more important than your respective identities.  There isn’t any magic to simply respecting another person’s viewpoint.

Ultimately, the book is just a sampling of just a few of the wonderful interviews Sale’s podcast covers.  And while I found it helpful and nuanced, it did in the end feel like a long-form flyer for the podcast, which to be fair I am definitely adding to my Spotify playlist.  It is a valuable book in it’s own right. If you want an enjoyable and helpful take on the topic, this book is a good one.  If you want a deeper dive, you may want to go straight for the podcast.  

This Week's Review at Inklings

 

The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green

Reviewed by J.T. Menard

One to five stars; everything is rated these days. It goes beyond products. You can rate your professor, your doctor, the medicine you take, the park you visit or even the mountain pass you drive over. According to Google Reviews, Satus Pass is a 4.1 star experience. Snoqualmie—4.4. Five-star rankings are arbitrary, but often exhibit a more outsized influence on our lives than we would like. Small business owners for example, need to monitor Google and Yelp carefully, as a single one-star review can weigh heavier than a dozen five-star reviews. Rankings matter, but who can measure what they really mean? What is the tangible difference between a restaurant pulling a 4.4 star average and another with a 4.7?

It’s the absurdity of rating everything in our lives that serves as the linchpin of John Green’s latest work, “The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human Centered Planet.” Best known for his well-received young adult fiction novels—In 2017 I reviewed his previous book “Turtles All the Way Down” for this column quite favorably—this is Green’s first major foray into adult non-fiction. Across 40 essays, Green reviews—sort of—different aspects of the Anthropocene, the geologic age in which humans saw their rise, and likely fall. It’s quite a potpourri of topics, including Indianapolis (4 out of 5 stars), plague (1/5), air-conditioning (3/5), Canada geese (2/5), and the teddy bear (2.5/5). If it seems like Green is trying a bit too hard to be clever and meta here, that’s because he probably is. One of his biggest strengths is arguably how self-aware he is in his writing, which has made for some sublime genre-bending fiction over the years, but that same self-awareness can hinder him, too.

In the end, the essays aren’t really “reviews” because they rarely stay focused on the merits of the subject at hand. They serve as a jumping off point for Green’s musings about our planet, the beauty and sorrow of living here, and the difficulties of the current global moment we find ourselves collectively enduring as best we can. It makes me wonder if the 5-star gimmick was really necessary at all? Green is famous enough that a collection of his essays would sell well enough without this contrivance. 

As for the reviews/essays themselves, I found them a bit hit or miss. Some I found incredibly poignant and touching, such as his essays on “Halley’s Comet” and “Googling Strangers,” while others failed to leave an impression on me. But such is the nature of the essay collection, different essays will speak to different readers.

If the five-star rating does mean anything, the book seems to be speaking to people. Reviews of “The Anthropocene Reviewed” average 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon (n = 2,265 as of writing), and 4.5 out 5 on Goodreads (n = 12,809), and a #1 place on the New York Times Bestseller List. Perhaps it will speak to you.

As for my personal rating of “The Anthropocene Reviewed,” I’ll abstain. Not everything needs to be placed on a five-star scale.

Our Favorite Reads in July!

Find our Favorites in the link below:

Wilde in Love by Eloisa James - print - audio

Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat - print 

The Southern's Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix - print - audio

Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey - print - audio

The Language of Butterflies by Wendy Williams - print - audio

Smile by Sarah Ruhl - print - audio

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle - print - audio

Animal by Lisa Taddeo - print - audio

This Week's Review at Inklings

 

All The Lonely People by Mark Gayle

Review by Irene Pearcey                                  

82 year-old Hubert Bird has lost touch with his friends, has no patience for the courier who occasionally rings his doorbell wanting to leave parcels with him for the neighbors he has had no time nor inclination to get to know. When the doorbell rang that day, Hubert was in no mood to accept another parcel, he was waiting for a phone call from his daughter Rose. It wasn't a courier it was a young woman, Ashleigh and her toddler daughter Layla, his new neighbors who were determined to make his acquaintance. As Ashleigh rambled on, Hubert became increasingly impatient, so when the phone rang he shut the door in Ashleigh's face, answered the phone and settled into his chair with his cat Puss curled on his lap.  

Rose had moved to Australia twenty years ago, he would have loved to have had her closer, but her weekly phone calls were enough for now.  Rose worried about him since his wife Joyce had died. She was concerned that he was lonley and cut off from friends.  Hubert reasurred Rose that he was fine, that he had a wonderful and active social life....the problem was it was all a lie--one that would soon be exposed.  Rose was planning a visit. Hubert had been meticulous in his lies.  He kept a notebook beside the phone so he could refer back to the people, places and events he had spoken of with Rose.  With her impending visit, he HAD to make friends, he HAD to create a real  life to resemble the fake one he had created for his daughter and he HAD to do it fairly quickly.  

So begins this delightful and poignant novel by Mike Gayle.  At times wonderfully light-hearted and humourous, it is at the same time a story of heartache and suffering.  

 As a Jamacian immigrant living in South London in the 1950's, Hubert Bird had experienced more than his share of heartache.  He had left everything he knew and loved in search of a job and a better life...something Jamaica did not offer him at that time.

He found the job in a department store.  He also found the love of his life,  Joyce Pierce.  When Joyce announced to her family that she was pregnant and that she and Hubert were going to marry, her racist family turned their backs on them.  Joyce, his daughter Rose and his son were Hubert's entire world and then his world began to fall apart.

When Joyce developed dementia, her constant care required his constant attention and he lost touch with his friends.  A drug addicted son and a daughter who had accepted a professorship at an Australian university, Hubert found himself alone with no desire to venture into the world that he had turned his back upon until that fateful day when Ashleigh knocked on his door and forced Hubert Bird to take a small step back into the world.

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