erogers_4543's blog

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

Review by Elisabeth Martin Rogers

Demon Copperhead tells the life of Damon, who among everyone else in the novel, has a nickname - Demon. He has fiery red hair and a world of trouble resting on his shoulders. He grows up in the Appalachians at first with his mother, then gets tossed into the whirlpool of foster care. I immediately got attached to Demon and wanted nothing more than to see him find some peace in life. The novel is fiction, but it addresses some very real struggles people face in life, particularly with addiction and trauma.

Pet by Catherine Chidgey

Review by Jules Galgan

The mark of an exceptional novel is that it makes you feel that you have been transported to another time or place entirely. This story did both for me with such ease I forgot I was reading. Pet is the story of twelve year old Justine, as she processes the recent death of her mother in 1980s New Zealand. When she goes back to school after a summer of grief and growing up too early, she meets her stunningly beautiful new teacher, Mrs. Price. Within moments of meeting the charismatic new teacher, Justine and the rest of her classmates have fallen in love and everyone is willing to do anything in order to win her favor. As the story unfolds, Justine finds her way into Mrs. Price’s good graces and becomes, of course, her pet. But just when things seem like they couldn’t get any better, strange things begin to happen in the classroom. My eyes were glued to the pages as I witnessed the betrayals, manipulation, and odd circumstances that Mrs. Price seemed to bring with her.

Under the Mountain Shadows by William D. Frank

Review by Phil Lamb, a local retired country lawyer of Yakima

Kay Kershaw. A local force of nature. An institution. Bright, energetic, articulate, fiercely independent.1907-1996. 

This is a biography of a girl growing up in the Upper Yakima Valley, as part of the Kershaw family. Working in the orchards, outdoorsy, learned to fly, Red Cross Nurse in World War II. Built and operated the Double K with her successive partners Pat Kane and Isabelle Lynn. The Double K was basically a dude ranch at Goose Prairie; no electricity, no phones.

Funny Story by Emily Henry

Review by Bridget Keller

Emily Henry did it again! Another beautiful rom-com book that fills the hopeless romantic in you. The book contains tropes such as fake dating, forced proximity, friends-to-lovers, opposites attract, and so much more. You see character development as well as realistic flaws within each of the characters. Funny Story was definitely one of my most anticipated books of 2024 and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

Worry by Alexandra Tanner

Review by Bridget Keller

Worry, written by Alexandra Tanner, tells the story of two sisters, Jules and Poppy. Anxious Jules has an addiction to social media and is constantly trying to appease the people around her. She’s stuck in a constant cycle of hating her job, checking up on her “Facebook mommies'' and wanting more out of her current life in Brooklyn. Then, spontaneous Poppy arrives at Jules’s doorstep claiming she needed a place to stay for a few weeks. These weeks turn into months. Their lives change; Jules begins to reflect on the situation she was in before Poppy moved in. Poppy begins creating roots, yet she remains on her air mattress instead of moving into the prepared bed that Jules had bought her. Their difficult relationship with their mom gives them something to build their friendship upon. The two women argue just as much as they get along, yet their relationship only grows stronger.

Solito by Javier Zamora

Review by Elisabeth Martin Rogers

Solito is the first memoir I sat down and read cover to cover since reading Anne Frank’s Diary in middle school. Javier Zamora tells his story of migration from El Salvador to “La USA” at the tender age of 9. He is in this liminal space throughout the book because he left family in El Salvador to be with his parents in the USA. He was supposed to be gone for 2 weeks but the trip took him 2 whole months. He had no contact with either ends of his family, but made a family of his own out of the people he traveled with.

The most fascinating aspect of this book is that Zamora tells the story as if he were 9 years old again. There are things he describes with naivety, but as an adult reader, we can understand the underlying circumstances. He talks about how everyone describes “La Migra” (the migration officers) with fear and hate, and how he pictures them as comic book bad guys that he is supposed to run from at all costs. We step into his fear and discomfort when he talks about how grimey and unknown everything was. It pains me to know that he and his family tried multiple times to cross legally, but was rejected every time. This trip of his was the last ditch effort to reunite him with his parents.

Something About the Sky by Rachel Carson and Nikki McClure

Review by Amy Halvorson Miller

Back in the early months of the pandemic, Olympia artist and writer Nikki McClure was approached by Orion magazine about illustrating portions of a script Rachel Carson wrote for television more than sixty years ago. Of course, she immediately agreed, making arrangements with Carson’s estate to create a picture book titled Something About the Sky, which was published last month.

Rachel Carson is known for her classic book, Silent Spring, which revealed how humans were poisoning Earth and creatures were dying as a result–most notably from the pesticide DDT. The alarm she sounded was crucial for us to hear during the formative years of the environmental movement.

In words and art the author and illustrator, having never met, help us understand that Earth has two oceans: one of seawater below and one of vapor above. Both carry and nourish life. Both move in currents, often with similar patterns shaped like waves, eddies, or ripples. Carson explains the water cycle and cloud types accurately and poetically. Fog, rain, snow–stormy or gently fleeting–are constantly reforming with no end nor beginning.

A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon

Review by Jules Galgan

I know they say not to judge books by their covers, but after one look at Samantha Shannon’s A Day of Fallen Night, I felt certain that a book that beautiful had to be filled with something great. I have never been more right. A Day of Fallen Night is one of the most epic fantasy novels of our time and has easily joined the ranks of my all time favorite books. It is a saga saturated with adventure, romance, and intrigue that makes the pages fly by.

The story takes place hundreds of years before Shannon’s other novel, the infamous Priory of the Orange Tree. As far as reading order goes, these two can be read as stand alone novels or the reader can view Priory of the Orange Tree as the main novel and read A Day of Fallen Night as a prequel. I personally feel that reading A Day of Fallen Night allows the reader to get a handle on the intricate world-building and makes Priory of the Orange Tree an even more enriching experience. Both books are rich and vibrant with a full cast of characters and exceptional pacing.

Bye, Baby by Carola Lovering

Review by Nikki Maples

Books have always been a huge part of my life. I have memories of curling up on the couch and sitting there for hours just reading. I remember begging my parents to take me to the bookstore so I could get the next book in the series I was currently obsessing over. I had to get the books the second they came out. Today, that is still true. I added Bye, Baby by Carola Lovering to my ‘to-read’ shelf on Goodreads and impatiently waited and waited for its release.

The day it was released, I slapped my debit card down on the sales counter at Inklings Bookshop and got my very own copy. That night, I went home and curled up with my comfiest blanket and stepped into the thriller that is Bye, Baby.

A lost friendship. Jealousy turned into a fit of blinding rage. A stolen baby. Carola Lovering introduces readers to her newest bestseller and gives the term ‘toxic friendship’ a whole new meaning. Bye, Baby thrust the reader into the lives of Billie and Cassie, two women who would once do anything for each other, who are now strangers passing by. Desperate to gain her best friend back, Billie pushes herself back into her friends life after Cassie gives birth to her first child. Past secrets start to emerge between the two and in a blackout moment of jealousy, Billie kidnaps Cassie’s daughter on their balcony ledge. The story then takes a drastic turn from there and has you at the edge of your seat.

UFO: The Inside Story of the US Government's Search for Alien Life Here—and Out There by Garrett Graff

Review by Chris Saunders

UFO: "Unidentified Flying Object". Recently rebranded “UAP” for “Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon,” or “Unidentified Anomalous Phenomenon.” Apparently “UFO” had some marketing problems.

As proud Pacific Northwesterners know, the first official sighting of otherworldly aircraft didn’t happen at Roswell, New Mexico, but rather, near Mount Rainier on June 24th, 1947, by a 32-year-old rescue pilot named Kenneth Arnold, who landed in Yakima later that day and told a lot of people about the “saucer-like craft” he saw. (I never knew any of this until I went off to college, and I’ve always wondered why stick-in-the-mud Yakimites don’t talk about this at all, while other communities are quick to cash in on the notoriety associated with UFO sightings. Even if it’s too late to attract tourists at this point, how about a plaque or a mural on the airport wall, or just something commemorating it?)

For what it’s worth, Yakima is first mentioned on page 4 of UFO, the 518-page book by investigative reporter Garrett Graff, whose previous subjects have included Watergate, September 11th, and the Cold War. Shortly after Arnold’s story appeared in newspapers, it seemed like everyone was seeing glowing aircraft everywhere during the Summer of ’47.