"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Review: America for Beginners by Leah Franqui

Imagine for a minute that you were not born in the United States and did not grow up learning about its history in school or seeing the sights as you vacationed around the country. To extend your imagination, pretend that you lived your whole life within an eight mile circumference of where you were born, so you probably didn't even know your own community that well. Or, imagine that you are from a country which really doesn't have a very long history and the formation of that country was really to just assign people to second class status. Now imagine that these two people come together for a tour trip around America, along with an America serving as a companion and that is what you get in the book America for Beginners.

When Pival Sengupta, a wealthy widow who has lived her whole life in Kolkata (Calcutta), decides she must come to America to look for her son, Rahi, who was disowned by her husband for being gay, a tour of the whole country seems like a good excuse to make the trip. Never mind that she has no relatives in America and knows very little about the country. She will book a tour with a good Indian company that promises an exceptional trip with some of the comforts of home, like Indian food at every meal. The company also promises an Indian tour guide and female companion for propriety for the whole trip.

Once in America Pival learns that her guide, Satya, isn't from India but from Bangladesh and he really knows very little about America himself but has learned to speak with authority even if what he says is not correct. Though Indians living in Kolkata share the cultural heritage and language of Bengali with those living in Bangladesh, they do not view them as equals. The companion, Rebecca, is from America but she is unhappy in her current underemployed state as a actress and takes the job just to make her rent payment for another month. So this ragtag threesome set off to explore America and in the process learn about themselves and become friends along the way.

America for Beginners may seem like a travel book but it is really a story about coming to a place of beginnings. It is not so much about the Lincoln Memorial, the Liberty Bell, the Grand Canyon, or the music of New Orleans. It is about what all those things stand for and what a newbie can learn about him or herself as they internalize these things after seeing them for the first time. It is about finding yourself in a land of freedom and allowing yourself to untie the knots of bondage that encircle you. Mrs. Sengupta doesn't have to die because she has no family. Satya doesn't have to be a second class citizen because of his birth place. Rebecca doesn't have to be miserable living in New York when the whole country calls to her.

I started listening to this audiobook with absolutely no preconceived notions and I was delighted to learn new information about India and Bangladesh. It was fun to see places in America through a new set of eyes. Leah Franqui describes herself as a Puerto Rican Jewish native of Philadelphia who now lives in Mumbai. Her own cultural and religious experiences bring a a freshness of perspective to the story. For example, she shared that she was shocked to learn that homosexuality is still thought of as a mental illness in India, a condition from which one can be cured.

I read the book as a book club selection and I know we will have a wonderful discussion.

(RHS Book Club June 2019)

Monday, June 24, 2019

TTT: Summer Reading List

Top Ten Tuesday: What do I hope to read this summer?

I. Books from my own shelf:
  1. The Submission by Amy Waldman (I've started it already)
  2. Christy by Catherine Marshall
  3. If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
  4. The Library Book by Susan Orleans
  5. The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom
  6. Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
  7. Crooked Letter Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
  8. Winter Wheat by Mildred Walker
II. Upcoming book club selections
  1. Martin Marten by Brain Doyle
  2. Circe by Madeline Miller
  3. Astoria by Peter Stark
III. Books I've started but need/want to finish
  1. East of Eden by John Steinbeck 
  2. The Overstory by Richard Powers
  3. Fear by John Woodward
IV. Mock Printz/YA titles
  1. The Lucky Wars by Julie Berry
  2. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
  3. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
  4. Sadie by Courtney Summers
  5. Dig by A.S. King
  6. Internment by Samira Ahmed
  7. I, Claudia by Mary McCoy

How did I do on my Spring TBR list? 

I did good. I read all but four of the books on my list, and three of them I replaced with other books.

Spring TBR. 
I. Books from my own shelf:
  1. La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith ✔
  2. Redeployment by Phil Kay ✔
  3. Ten Windows by Jane Hirshfield 
  4. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom ✔
  5. The Four Things that Matter Most by Ian Byock, M.D. ✔
  6. On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan ✔
  7. The Confessions of Fitzwilliam Darcy by Mary Street ✔
  8. Small Wonders by Barbara Kingsolver
  9. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson ✔
  10. The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka ✔
  11. Fear by Bob Woodward
II. I know a few upcoming book club titles:
  1. Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa ✔
  2. The Walk by Richard Paul Evans ✔
  3. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue ✔
III. Books I've placed on hold at the library that likely will be available soon
  1. Shout: a poetry memoir by Laurie Halse Anderson ✔
  2. Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott ✔
  3. The Friend by Sigrid Nunez ✔
  4. Sadie by Courtney Summers
I replaced all the books on the 'My Own Shelf' books that I didn't read with other books I own, so I actually read at least eleven books in that category. I've requested Sadie (the only other book I didn't finish) again from the library but am waiting my turn.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sunday Salon, June 23rd

Ian (aka fire-fighter) and Grand-aunt Kathy playing giant lite-bright
Weather: Overcast and cool...not very summerish.

Today: Don preached in church since our pastor is on vacation. As an Elder he was asked to fill in and he did a great job. The theme came from the miracle of the swine. A man filled with many demons was restored by Jesus but the demons inhabited the swines, who ran down the hill, humped in the lake and were drowned. The man asked if he could go with Jesus but Jesus said no, go home and tell everyone what God has done. (Luke 8:26-37). Don's message revolved around that. Not the swine or the demons, but around the going out and telling others what God is doing in our lives.

Coming to stay (sort of): Our daughter and her family sold their house and hope to build a new one, but the process is slow. They have to be out of their house by this coming Friday then they will be homeless for the foreseeable future. They will stay at her in-laws for half the week and at our house for the other half until a rental property is ready to move into.That could be months away. In preparation, Don and I have cleaned out the old dresser that used to belong to Don's mom, then Don, then our girls, and was living in the garage full of art supplies, and flags. Now it is up in Ian's room ready for his clothes. I also transferred all the stuff out of the guest room dresser, so our daughter would have someplace to put her clothes. I'm pretty sure I have enough tissue paper saved to last for all gift giving until I am 100 years old.

Treasures: While I was moving all the gift wrap, tissue paper, and assorted items from one dresser to another in a different room, I found a few treasures. First I found a mood ring. I'm pretty sure that it belonged to the girls because it only fits on my pinkie finger. Also, I am not a good candidate to wear mood rings since the color stays a horrible brownish-yellow color...kind of a yellowish puce color. The name alone should tell you how awful it is. The second treasure I found, which I never remember seeing before, was an envelope full of handkerchiefs and other other items from Queen Elizabeth's coronation. I bet that came from Don's great-grandmother, who he described as a subject of the queen her whole life, even though she was an American. This one treasure I may explore to see if there is any value to it.

Visiting Grand Aunt: My sister came up for a short visit early this week so she could spend a few hours with my grandson. We took him to the Hands On Children's museum where he ran with delight from one area to the next as if he wanted to show off all the fun things to do. At one point he took off running to his favorite are of first-responder vehicles. We both laughed out loud just to witness his joy!

The wisdom of Ian: Wear costumes as often and as proudly as you can. You see the photo of him wearing the fire fighter helmet even is other areas of the museum.

Books read in June (and May, at least those since my last Sunday Salon post):

  • The Storied Life of AJ Fikey by Gabrielle Zevin---a reread for me and book club selection for this month. Check out my thoughts of getting ready to discuss this book here. Audiobook.
  • Damsel by Alana Arnold---a twist on a fairy tale. A damsel is saved from a dragon by a prince, but she doesn't like her life under his "care". See my review here. Audiobook.
  • The CBS Murders by Richard Hammer---true crime about murders which occurred as part of a cover up of other crimes. E-book. 
  • We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mehja---YA, modern themes but set in a myth-like setting. Review here. Audiobook.
  • Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount---love this illustrated book about books, bookstores, libraries, and famous writers. My review is here. Print.
  • Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue---An immigrant's story. Another book club selection for August. My review is here. Audiobook.
  • America for Beginners by Leah Franqui---A look at America through the eyes of others. Another book club selection. No review yet. Audiobook.
Books currently reading:
  • The Overstory by Richard Powers---I read almost half of this e-book 250 of the 520 pages, checked out from the library before it was due and automatically returned. I got back in line but it may take four months until I get it again. I may have to buy this one to finish up. Sigh. E-book.
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck---honestly I haven't read a word for a month or so but I hope to get back to it this next week while on vacation. Print.
  • The Submission by Amy Waldman---a fictional account of what could happen if a memorial to victims of terrorism is designed by the winning submission by a Muslim artist. Print.
  • Lovely War by Julie Berry---my Mock Printz reading selection of the month. Audiobook.
 Prayers for:
  • P, who lost his father this past week
  • M. and S, whose brother is dying of cancer
  • A, who is trying to find a graduate program that fits his needs.
Have a lovely week, the first full week of summer (or winter, depending on which half of the globe you live on.)

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Friday Quotes: Behold the Dreamers

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
e Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56.

And a review, of sorts, to follow...

Title: Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Book Beginnings:
"He'd never been asked to wear a suit to a job interview."
Friday 56:
"Jende sat up in his chair, clasped his hands on his lap, and began telling his story."
Summary: Jende Jonga arrived in America in 2007 on a visitor's visa from Cameroon in West Africa. He struggles to make a living and to find a way to get a green card. His wife Neni is granted a student visa so she and their six-year-old join him in New York. When Jende gets a job, after wearing a suit to the interview, as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, an executive for Lehman's Brothers on Wall Street, life is definitely looking up for the couple. They are able to set aside some money, in addition to what they send home, so it seems like the American dream is within their grasp. But then two things happen. First, Lehman Brothers fails and the biggest recession to hit the US in fifty years starts, leaving many without jobs. Secondly, immigration officials contact Jende who feels compelled to tell a lie about why he should be allowed to stay in the US since his visa has expired. When Jende gets in the middle of the marital problems between his boss and his wife, he loses his job. The dream seems to evaporate over night.

Review: I read Behold the Dreamers as a book club selection and because it was a highlighted book in my community. The story contains a very relevant theme in today's news: illegal immigration. Jende and his wife want a piece of the American dream where, if you work hard and save, it is possible to make something of yourself. But even as things start going wrong for them, they can't help but compare their experiences in the US with those they left behind in Cameroon. They told the immigration judge that they had to stay in the US because Neni's father would kill Jende if they returned, but this story was not true. It was just a made-up story by their lawyer. As I read this part, I had to reflect on the reasons that so many people are trying to get into the USA today, even though immigration folks are locking them up the moment they get here. I've heard that many feel that their life was in danger in their own country. Yet, one never really knows if it is true or if they just want to be part of the American dream. No one deserves to be treated poorly when they enter the USA, but certainly we can do better at making the process a true legal process that has path toward citizenship. Sigh. The book helped me think through many ideas around immigration and what really makes a place "home."

Interestingly, the author, Imbolo Mbue, is from Limbe, Cameroon herself, but now lives in New York City and has become an American citizen. It would be interesting to hear her own story of immigration to this country. I listened to the audiobook for Behold the Dreamer read by Prentice Onayemi, who was able to do the accent to sound authentic.

(SOTH Book Club selection for August 2019)

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry...prepping for book club

This month I reread The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin in preparation for the book club meeting at my house on this coming Tuesday. I listened to the audiobook and loved the story as much as I loved it the first time. (Though, I apparently never reviewed the book so we can't look back on my precise thoughts at the time.) I had forgotten so many details it was almost like I read it for the first time. What I did remember was that A.J. Fikry owned a bookstore on an island and his preferred reading choices were short stories. I wanted to incorporate a discussion about both bookstores and short stories into the evening's questions.

Prepping for the club meeting:
  • First, I've decided to serve shrimp and mini-quiches and other foods available from COSTCO. Why? Because whenever A.J. hosted a book event at the store his friend, Lambiase, always suggested that he serve shrimp from COSTCO no matter the event. We usually have desserts at our club meetings, so I think I will serve the shrimp as an appetizer along with some bubbly drink or some summer beverage like lemonade. Then for dessert I'll serve up a COSTCO cheesecake or some such treat from their fresh choices. I usually spend hours making some elaborate homemade delight so this will be easy.
  • Peruse the print version of the book and reread all the notes to his daughter that he has titled after short stories. Select a few of my favorite short stories that I can talk about during the meeting. I reminded gals today about their assignment to come to club with a short story in mind, so I hope they follow through. 
  • Clean the house and wash off the patio furniture. The weather isn't very warm today. If it is this temperature on Tuesday evening, we'll be inside, but I am hoping we can sit outside on the deck. After I finish this blogpost, I'm heading outside to spray off the chairs.
  • Decide on questions for the discussion.
Discussion questions (Most taken from the publisher, with a few twists from me):
P: On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto "No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World." In light of this story what do you think this means and do you agree?

1. At the beginning of the story, Amelia says she is considering quitting online dating. How would you compare the act of buying books online to the act of dating online? Is it relevant to the story that Amelia meets her eventual husband in a very analog location, a bookstore? What other examples of technology intrusions make their way into the story? Are they always bad intrusions?

2. Consider the setting. Why do you think the author chooses to set the book on an island? How does the island setting reflect A.J.’s character?

3. Do you think that Maya's appearance and adoption were handled or explained well in the writing? Explain.

4. Lambiase moves from an occasional or nonreader, to a reader, to a bookseller. How do you think becoming a reader changes him? Consider the scene where he decides not to confront Ismay about the backpack. Do you think Lambiase’s reaction is different than it would have been if he hadn’t taken up reading?

5. The author chooses to begin each chapter with a description of a short story. Discuss some of the ways the stories relate to the chapters with which they are paired. Is A.J. creating a canon for Maya? How does the book itself function as a kind of canon? If these are A.J.’s favorites, what do they say about A.J. as a reader and as a man? 

5a. What short stories have meant something to you in your life? A list of my favorite short stories is posted here. Zevin says we write stories to understand our world. Does that relate to reading them, too?

6. Did you find Ismay’s motivations for stealing Tamerlane to be forgivable? How do you think she should pay for her crime? Why do you think Lambiase lets her off?

7. At one point, Maya speculates that perhaps “your whole life is determined by what store you get left in” (page 85). Is it the people or the place that makes the difference?

8. When did you become aware that Leon Friedman might be an imposter? What did you make of Leonora Ferris’s reasons for hiring him?

9. How do you think Daniel Parrish might have changed if he had lived? Do you think some people never change?

10. Were you surprised by the outcome of the short story contest? What do you think of A.J.’s comments to Maya about why certain books and stories win prizes and others don’t? Does the knowledge that a book has won a prize attract you to reading it?

11. Compare Maya’s “fiction” about the last day of her mother’s life to Ismay’s version. Which do you consider to be more accurate and why?

12. How do you think the arrival of the e-reader is related to the denouement of the story? Is A.J. a man who cannot exist in a world with e-books? What do you think of e-books? Do you prefer reading in e- or on paper? Refer to the interview at the back about how Ms. Zevin feels about technology.

13. At one point, A.J. asks Maya, “Is a twist less satisfying if you know it’s coming? Is a twist that you can’t predict symptomatic of bad construction?” What do you think of this statement in view of the plot of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry? Did you guess who Maya’s father was? If so, what were the clues?

14. The author chooses to end the novel with a new sales rep coming to an Island Books that is no longer owned by A.J. What do you make of this ending?

15. What do you think the future holds for physical books and bookstores? (See page 257 for Amelia quote about bookstores.) What are some of your favorite bookstores. (Show book: Bibliophile) 

16. The Publisher summarizes the book this way: "As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love." Do you agree with this summary. What were some of your favorite quotes from the book?

Favorite quotes:
"But me-also-thinks my latter-day reaction speaks to the necessity of encountering stories at precisely the right time in our lives. Remember, Maya: the things we respond to at twenty are not necessarily the same things we will respond to at forty and vise versa. This is true for books and also in life."-27
"A place is not really a place without a bookstore."-200
" Your dad relates to the characters. It has meaning to me. And the longer I do this (bookselling, yes, but also living, if that isn't too awfully sentimental), the more I believe that this is what the point of it all is. To connect, my little nerd. Only connect."-247
"The words you can't find, you borrow. We read to know we are not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone. We are not alone. My life is in thes books, he wants to tell her. Read these and know my heart. We are not quite novels...We are not quite short stories. In the end, we are collected works. He has read enough to know there are no collections where every story is perfect. Some hits. Some misses. If you're lucky, a standout. And in the end, people only really remember the standouts anyway, and they don't remember those for very long."-249
"We aren't the things we collect, acquire, read. We are, for as long as we are here, only love. The things we loved. The people we loved, and these, I think these really do live on."-251
Update after the event:
Book club was last night and seventeen gals attended, including me. After cleaning the deck and the deck furniture in preparation for the meeting the weather turned cold and windy and so I crammed everyone into my living room instead.  Anyway we had a great discussion. Each gal was given a question on a scrap of paper from the 16+ listed above. It was her job to answer that question before it was opened up to the group. That way everyone, even the quiet ones, had a chance to speak.

I had spent the earlier part of my day with my grandson and didn't have a chance to shop at COSTCO until after 5 PM so I opted for cheesecake, but no shrimp. I just ran out of time. I served sangria, lemonade, coffee, nuts, chocolate blueberries, cheesecake all from Costco. The only addition was the fruit compote which I used as a topping. I got it from my freezer. Everyone said they enjoyed the evening. My husband would probably be the exception. He kept being called upon to assist with the dog, who is simply overly friendly, or to move furniture to accommodate so many people, and then he started on the dishes after the cheesecake was served and eaten.  I should say, though, that he is the only husband of the group who actually helps out when the meeting is here. Other husbands hide out and we don't even see them. Don always lends a hand making the coffee and serving the dessert. He is a prize-winner in my book.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Friday quotes: The Overstory

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
e Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56.

Currently I'm reading...

Title: The Overstory by Richard Powers

Book Beginning: (chapter called Roots)
First there was nothing, Then was everything. Then, in a park above a western city after dusk, the air is raining messages. A woman sits on the ground, leaning against a pine. Its bark presses hard against her back. Its needles scent the air and a force hums in the heart of the wood. Her ears tune down to the lowest frequencies. The tree is saying things, in words before words.
Friday 56: (from page 64 in the chapter called Trunk in e-book)
Tonight the trees are tight-lipped, refusing to tell him anything...The moon is a blazing telephone that anyone on Earth might call him on, simply by looking up and seeing what he sees.
Comments: The Overstory is my type of story. It takes a theme, in this case trees, and explores so many aspects of the importance of trees in our lives and our history. I am about 40% way through this long e-book (510 pages.) The quote in Book Beginnings sets the stage when the trees, in trouble, seem to come alive and seek help. The Friday 56 quote is one of the characters, a paraplegic, goes out alone at night in his wheelchair to look at a tree he remembered seeing as a child. In the dark he gets no inspiration from the tree until he does! As winner of the 2019 Pulitzer, the book is scrumptiously written, but it is also a bit confusing with a cast of over nine main characters which I understand will eventually all come together some how. We'll see.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Wordless Wednesday...Roses

Gourmet Popcorn

4th of July

Oregon Garden rose

Abbaye de Cluny

Pure Poetry


Habitat for Humanity
Love Peace


Pope John Paul 

Monday, June 10, 2019

TTT: Unpopular bookish opinions

1. Not sure if this is THAT odd, but I really hate it when people loan me books. I never ask to borrow someone's books yet people still feel compelled to loan me books. Argh. They cause me so much stress because now I feel like I have to read the book even though I don't want to.

2. I love borrowing books from the library, better yet audiobooks. For some reason borrowing library books does not stress me out. If I can't get to them within the due date, no big deal. I just return them and try again another time. I think the difference between #1 and #2 is that the librarians don't care if I read the book or not whereas my friend who loaned me the book, does.

3. I see nothing wrong with marking or highlighting in a book if I own it. If I keep little notes in the book then it gives me an insight to where my brain was when I look back years later. But too much highlighting can be a problem.

4. Though I have a messy book shelf (I'm looking at it right now), I actually could happily get rid of 75% of the books on it immediately. I only want to keep books that I will reread some day or that hold some sentimental value. So why not heave-ho the lot? Most of the books on my shelf I haven't read. Either I bought and never read them or acquired the book some way. If I read a book, even if I like it but doubt I will ever reread it, I give it away.

5. I love audiobooks and I usually listen to them at 1.25 speed. I know. It drives everyone crazy in my family, too.

6. Poetry books are the exceptions to all the rules. I buy them and hoard them. Whenever I'm at a used book store I will always peruse the poetry shelves. Best finds are usually in university towns.

7. I prefer stand-alone books to books in a series. But if a book is in a series and the second book isn't published when I finish the first book, I usually won't go on and read the rest of the series later. I've moved on. Exception: Eragon, Raven Boys, Daughter of Smoke and Bones, Hunger Games, and Harry Potter.

8. I like reading award winning books, in fact I try to read the Printz, Pulitzer, and National Book Award selections every year. I try to figure out why the book was a winner.

9. My favorite books are often some of the most quirky, out-there books. These types of books are often called cult classics---books that people either love or hate, but the fans are super-fans. I usually love them. Examples: A Confederacy of Dunces; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore; The Couch.

10. I consider myself to be a Janite---a Jane Austen fan. I not only like her books but I like books about her, and retellings of her stories written by someone else.

11. I haven't read one word or viewed one moment of the Game of Thrones books or TV series. I'm sure I'd like the shows but I just never got started.

12. I don't loan out my books. (See #1) The possible exception might be books for book club but since I usually get the books from the library (See #2) I can't really loan them out to anyone.

What book-related opinions do you hold that might not be too popular with other bookish people? which of my twelve opinions are at odds with yours?

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Friday Quotes: We Set the Dark on Fire

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
e Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56.

And a review, of sorts, to follow---

Title: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Book Beginnings:

Friday 56 (This week's quote from page 39):

Summary: Daniela Vargas and her parents came from the wrong side of the island, separated from the other by a high wall. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged papers so that Daniela could have privileges they could not give her if they stayed behind the wall, on the poor side of the island. But no one must know of her humble beginnings, especially the other girls at the Medio School for Girls where Daniela is training to be a Primera, the first wife of a rich and powerful boy who would secure her position in society. But once her marriage to Mateo takes place Daniela is more aware than ever of the inequality that exists on the island and is uncomfortable living in such luxury when her family and others are starving and cannot get medical care. When she is approached by the resistance to help their cause Dani has to decide if she is willing to sacrifece security for herself while others, including her parents perish due to the inequality.

Review: I became aware of We Set the Dark on Fire through the Goodreads Mock Printz reading group. It has earned four or five starred reviews from professional organizations, so I thought the book worthy of my reading time. It is not hard to figure out how this book relates to today's politics around immigration and inequality. The thinly veiled note of a "wall" was a dead give away. Though the book was full of intrigue and action/suspense, I found myself not buying into the drama and how quickly it developed. The book's two main characters, Daniela and Carmen (the 2nd wife), didn't even seem fully flushed out as people, making the suspense even more difficult to accept. It also ends on a cliff-hanger, which in my mind, removes it from Printz consideration, but will likely cause it to have a small fan-base of readers who want to find out how things turn out. I, on the other hand, don't think I care enough to find out so won't hold my breath waiting for the sequel.

Source: Audiobook checked out on Overdrive from the Pierce County Library