To the Bright Edge of the World, by Eowyn Ivey

Review by AB

I’d like to think that it’s not a coincidence that as I sat down in my front porch rocking chair to write this review, I was fortunate to spot two especially large birds settling in the tall pines at the edge of our property. If you read To the Bright Edge of the World, you will understand the significance of such a moment. The love of birds and the mystery surrounding their nature plays an important role in the novel, but this story is not just for bird lovers.

Eowyn Ivey’s frame story (a story within a story) is a tale of love and adventure set in the 41qpsissbfL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_late 19th century. It follows Colonel Allen Forrester as he leads a treacherous expedition to find the source of Alaska’s Wolverine River, leaving behind his young wife and budding ornithologist Sophie at a military outpost. Continue reading

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Summer Reads 2017

Here’s just a list of fun and/or interesting-but-not-tedious reads for long vacation drives and warm summer days. We’ve categorized them (somewhat) for a quick perusal based on reader interest. We hope you’ll find some you enjoy! 

Editor’s Pick*

TMGTruly, Madly Guilty, by Liane Moriarty (Genre: Fiction)
Three couples gather for an afternoon barbecue and find their lives permanently altered. So what in the world happened at the barbecue? I (Natalie) couldn’t put down Truly, Madly Guilty until the author answered this question. Moriarty teases out the details in a somewhat maddening, but incredibly suspenseful way. That’s why this is my summer read choice. You won’t be bored reading it by the pool or on the beach. Continue reading

The Secret of Spellshadow Manor, by Bella Forrest

spellI’d like to say that I’ve never succumbed to the lure of clickbait. Usually I’m a strong person on Facebook. Clickbait? That’s for simpletons. But … well, there was this kind of ad post with a cool-looking book cover for The Secret of Spellshadow Manor that said “If you loved Harry Potter, you will LOVE this new series! Get the kindle deal today only!” And unfortunately, I’m a huge HP fan, and, well, anyway it was a great kindle deal. I mean, yeah, the author is known for a ton of cranked-out vampire mysteries, but this could be her Shining Star … right? Continue reading

Children’s Book Week

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May 1st marked the start of the 98th annual Children’s Book Week. To commemorate this week that encourages children’s literacy, I’ve put together a list of some my family’s favorite books. Libraries and bookstores across America celebrate this special week, and you can check out events in your area with this interactive map.

Ella Bella Ballerina Series. Ella Bella is a young ballet dancer who is transported by music into the story of well-known ballets such as Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Cinderella, and a few others. The illustrations are beautiful. My daughter, an aspiring ballerina, loves these books, and even my 6-year-old boy enjoys the stories.

 

Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House Book 1) by [Osborne, Mary Pope, Sal Murdocca]Magic Tree House Series. You will never run out of books to read with this series. And since the author transports her hero and heroine, Jack and Annie, into books via the tree house, she has an endless supply of writing material. I enjoy this series almost as much as my kids. In the first book, Jack and Annie stumble upon the tree house, and, by accident, end up transported to the age of dinosaurs. Continue reading

World Book Day – A “Must-Read” List

It’s World Book Day today, so we just quickly want to give you the book that we each recommend to people the most. 

Natalie: The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield 
Every once in a while I read a book that I wish I could experience for the first time over and over again. This book ranks among my favorite mystery novels simply because of the author’s ability to craft beautiful sentences – and the surprising twist at the end. Continue reading

What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty

Review by Meg 

When I was a college freshman, I wrote a “10 year” letter to myself – to be read when I was 29. It was full of the usual stuff – who my friends were, what classes I was taking, the guy that I currently had a crush on, etc. I put it away in my keepsake box and proceeded to forget about it. Then, when I was 28, right after having my first child, I found it – and decided 9 years was good enough to wait, and re-met my 19-year-old self. By this point in my life, it was mostly funny to read, maybe mildly embarrassing (I liked THAT guy – Really? And thought I might MARRY him??). But that whole instance brings up an interesting question: Do you know what your life will be like 10 years from now?

What Alice Forgot begins with Alice waking up (with a very sore head), thinking she’s 29 years old, madly in love and about to have her first baby – only to be told that she’s actually 39, has 3 kids, and is about to get a divorce. Shealice has absolutely no memory of the last ten years of her life, and cannot imagine how on earth she got to where she is now. Continue reading

The Road Less Traveled: AB goes to Hampton Plantation, home of Archibald Rutledge

20170324_125139 (1)As a creative writing teacher, I’m always looking for ways to expose my young writers to strong examples of good writing and to the personal stories of respected, published authors. Recently, I accompanied some students along with their parents to McClellanville, SC and Hampton Plantation – the ancestral home of Archibald Rutledge, South Carolina’s first poet laureate. Rutledge grew up in a wealthy family with deep ties to the land and history of the South Carolina lowcountry. His great-great grandfather, Daniel Horry, purchased the land in the early 18th century and later built the house on this sprawling rice and indigo plantation. Rutledge spent his pivotal years roaming the land, learning to hunt the local wildlife, and befriending the children of former slaves. After decades teaching in Pennsylvania, Rutledge, already an established writer, moved back home to oversee the restoration of his beloved home. To the Rutledge enthusiast, such works as Home by the River and Tales of Whitetails bring this special place to life, and I wanted my students to experience it in person. Continue reading