sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

June 22, 2022

into the stacks: march & april (plus one)
posted by soe 1:16 am

First off, I forgot a title when sharing my January and February reads:

Beth and Amy by Virginia Kantra
In this follow-up to Meg and Jo, we get the modernized stories of the two youngest March sisters. Beth (in this version, Beth is named after Marmee’s sister, who died young) is traveling with a country superstar who, despite her crippling anxiety, brings her on stage every night to sing the hit she wrote for him. And Amy is struggling to raise the capital to expand her bespoke handbag business and with some guilt over a night she spent in Paris a few years back. They’ve both returned home to South Carolina for Jo’s wedding and to spend a few weeks sorting out their respective lives. This is a solid modernization and reinterpretation of how Beth and Amy’s stories might have turned out. If either was your favorite in the original Little Women or if you like retellings, this duology should be on your radar.
Pages: 352. Library copy.

In March and April I finished five historical fiction titles (Fortune Favors the Dead, A Rogue of One’s Own, and A Marvellous Light in March and The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes and God of Jade and Shadow in April), recorded here.

I also finished these titles in April:

Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
A trans teen runs away from her parents’ home only to face additional abuse from the friend she sought for refuge. But when she plays her beloved violin in the park, she is discovered by one of the most successful teachers of the last century, who also happens to be one soul away from paying off a debt to the devil. Meanwhile, across town, a mother manages her family in the running of a doughnut shop by day and commands their interplanetary exploration by night. When these three women’s paths cross, none of them will ever be the same again. Highly recommended for those who enjoy alternative reality stories.
Pages: 372. Library copy.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
Lenni is 17 and dying. Margot is 83 and dealing with a heart issue. When they both find themselves in the same therapeutic art class, Lenni points out that together they’ve lived a hundred years. As they set out to document a painting from each of their years, they build a little family in their hospital community. You all know what a stickler I am for found family stories. If you are, too, I recommend checking this title out. It’s sweet and sad without being cloying, sentimental, or melodramatic.
Pages: 352. Library copy.

Shelf Respect by Annie Austen
Honestly, this tiny book is the sort of thing that you give book lovers when you don’t know what to give them. And it will make you think, well, I could have written this. But it’s cute and sometimes funny and will require next to none of your attention, making it perfect for times when you’re distracted and just want an eight-page essay or a two-page list about reading and books.
Pages: 192. Library copy.

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey
When a recently graduated Miami senior loses her grandmother and gets dumped by her boyfriend and then has her best friend only give her hours before leaving for Africa for a year, she has a bit of a meltdown, causing her family to send her the English countryside for the summer. There, she finds herself baking for her cousin’s b&b (her family owns a bakery that she and her sister intend on taking over) and falling for the boy down the lane, who sells tea. Cute international YA romance.
Pages: 320. Library copy.

Yours Cruelly, Elvia: Memoirs from the Mistress of the Dark by Cassandra Peterson
In this engaging memoir, Cassandra Peterson gives a self-aware recounting of her life, from her early teen years as a gogo dancer and rock star groupie in Colorado to being a 17-year-old showgirl in Vegas who meets the like of Penn and Teller, Elvis, and the Osmond family to her years with the legendary comedy troupe, The Groundlings, to being cast as the queen of horror, Elvira. She recounts her assorted romances, including a year living in a tree house, doesn’t mince words about which celebrities are crap human beings (or which ones were utter sweethearts), displays a ton of business acumen about her brand, and maintains a sense of humor throughout. I’m not a fan of the macabre, but Elvira was a tv fixture of my childhood, and it was truly entertaining to hear her read her stories.
Pages: 304. Library audio copy.

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