erogers_4543's blog

Winter: A Solstice Story / The Snow Man: A True Story / The North Wind & The Sun

Review by Amy Halvorson Miller

This coming Thursday, the winter solstice occurs: the longest night of the year, but thankfully, the start of lengthening days. Looking beyond Christmas, I’ve enjoyed three new picture books to greet the season and add some new interest and fun to story time.

Winter: A Solstice Story by Kelsey E. Gross is a tale of forest animals in a dark woods, preparing to celebrate the coming gift of winter. Owl watches the waning light of the shortest day then calls, “Whooo can help me shine the light, and share a gift of hope this night?” One by one, creatures answer with sustaining gifts from the snowy land. They celebrate the first day of winter with a softly sparkling tree hung with gifts, illustrated with vertical, gate-fold artwork by Renata Liwska. An unexpected friend joins the dance and all share in the splendor.

Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll

Review by Bridget Keller

Serial killer, Ted Bundy, has become infamous and often romanticized by the press and many authors. The victims and those affected by him frequently are overlooked as just tallies to his kills and not seen as humans. The novel, Bright Young Women written by Jessica Knoll, tells a fictionalized story of those who were affected by the infamous serial killer, Ted Bundy. Not wanting to contribute to the glorification of the horrific serial killer of the 20th century, throughout her work she only refers to him as The Defendant. 

Never Whistle at Night by Stephen Graham Jones, edited by Shane Hawks and Theodore C. Van Alst Jr.

Review by Lacey Fowler

Never Whistle at Night by bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones, edited by Shane Hawk and Theodore C. Van Alst Jr., is a 26-author anthology of fantastically unsettling and satisfying Indigenous horror stories.

From the list of authors, diversity of the tribes represented, settings, rich folklore and dark horror to the optimistic and sad endings, Never Whistle at Night is an incredible book. It is easily in my top five books of the year and highly recommended.

They cover a wide range of topics and writing styles, all unique perspectives that create crazy imagery in the reader's mind of the shadows and monsters that Never Whistle at Night describes so well.

 

Entangled Life / Knowing the Trees / Salmon, Cedar, Rock & Rain

Review by Rachel Fowler

As the weather gets colder, my favorite activity is to curl up with a good book. I love fiction, but I have a special affinity for nonfiction, especially nature books.

Recently I’ve read three that were particularly enjoyable. They range from the world of fungi to a beautifully illustrated book about trees and end with the wonder and majesty of the Olympic Peninsula. These books encompass a wide array of knowledge of the natural world and are perfect gifts for fans of the outdoors.

Entangled Life: The Illustrated Edition: How Fungi Make Our Worlds by Merlin Sheldrake, is an incredible book about mushrooms. Sheldrake's original bestselling edition explains how prevalent and important fungi are in our lives.

 

Yellowface by R. F. Kuang

Review by Cheyanne Stice

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang shares a little bit about what it is like in the publishing business and how far someone might go to get the recognition and fame they feel that they deserve.

Characters June Hayward and Athena Liu are both authors that have known each other since college. June is the author of a book that never got released in paperback nor had enough sales for another reprint and has no idea what her next project will be. Athena is the author of multiple published books and was working on another before her untimely death.

Champion of Fate by Kendare Blake

Review by Elisabeth Martin Rogers

Kendare Blake’s stories always have exhilarating concepts. You may have heard of her other novels; Anna Dressed in Blood and the Three Dark Crowns series. I thoroughly enjoyed them so when I saw this new release I was so excited for what she came up with this time! Champion of Fate kicks off the Heromaker series with the story of Reed, a tall lanky girl who stumbles into the lives of two immortal Aristene warriors of The Order. Reed learns quickly what The Order is fated to do, but the question is…can she fulfill her destiny? Will she follow the path fated to her? Blake tells a fast paced story that keeps you on your toes. There are characters you will adore, and others you will be thoroughly annoyed with but are endearing nonetheless.

The Witching Year by Diane Helmuth

Review by Tony Hoffart

A year into COVID lockdown, Diana Helmuth wants something more. She is skeptical of religion, both organized and disorganized but she wants to believe in something. So she decides to dive into the world of modern paganism and witchcraft and document her journey.  

During this journey, Diana wrestles with the issue of belief and skepticism in magic. Despite this, she fully commits to spell work in nearly all of its various forms. And she describes her experiences with it with the sort of earnest honesty that it can’t come off as anything but authentic. She discusses whether authenticity comes from having a historical lineage of customs and rituals or if such a thing is necessary in modern witchcraft. She explores the cultural appropriation issue of should a white American witch practice Brujeria or Voodoo? She also explores the authentic pleasure in going to Scotland and experiencing a pagan celebration that is rooted in her own ethnicity.

This Week's Review - Dark Water Daughter by H.M. Long

Review by Jules Galgan

Dark Water Daughter” is a stunner for anyone who loves a good pirate adventure story. Think of it as “Pirates of the Caribbean” with a mystic flare.

The story follows two main characters: Mary, a stormsinger whose unique powers allow her to cause hurricanes and quiet the seas with her voice; and an ex-naval officer turned pirate, Samuel, who has the ability to travel through the spirit world. Both characters must face the evil pirate lord, Silvanus Lirr, as he pursues Mary with reasons unknown.

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