Heather's Picks

Heather found her way to Phoenix Books after retiring from full-time teaching. Her primary interest is in fiction, but she also ventures into poetry, nature, gardening, biography, history, and mystery. Lately, she has been reading some middle grade fiction to help young people.

Reviewed by: 
Heather
Magpie Murders Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062645227
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - June 6th, 2017

If you love "who-dunn-its," Horowitz will please you.  The murder mystery by Alan Conway is surrounded by another plot—that of his publisher, Charles, and astute editor, Susan. Horowitz laughs at the genre and entertains us along the way.
 


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Heather
Little Fires Everywhere Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780735224292
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - September 12th, 2017

Set in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a planned community of privilege, this novel makes us ponder many questions. What role does race play in parenting? Is motherhood a bond forged by blood or by love? Do the faults of our past determine what we deserve in the future? Ng will cause us to challenge our assumptions.

 


Reviewed by: 
Heather
Hum If You Don't Know the Words Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780399575068
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - July 11th, 2017

Two characters who normally would never meet because of apartheid in South Africa come together. Robin is grieving the loss of her parents who were murdered during the Soweto uprisings. Beauty, whose own daughter, Nomsa, is missing during the uprisings, becomes Robin’s caregiver. Beauty’s love for Robin helps to ease the pain. Robin helps Beauty with her loss.  Robin knows that if Beauty finds Nomsa, she will lose her caregiver. Robin’s decision could have devastating consequences. This book is a story of self-discovery and making amends for one’s decisions.


Reviewed by: 
Heather
Carry Me Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101910894
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - January 24th, 2017

Set between WWI and the onset of WW II, Behrens weaves together the love story of Billy Lange and Karin Von Weinbrenner, the daughter of a wealthy German-Jewish industrialist.  Using archival letters of the characters, Behrens shows how the darkening history of Europe compels two young people to want to escape to El Llano Estacado, the mythical lands of Texas and New Mexico.  Epic in scale, unusual love story, lucid meditation.


Reviewed by: 
Heather
Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist) Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781455563937
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - February 7th, 2017

Pachinko is a popular gambling game in Japan. So to is life a gamble for three generations of a peasant Korean family that survives the Japanese occupation of Korea.  As the widow (Sunju) of a persecuted Christian missionary (Isak), Sunji travels to Osaka to live with her brother-in-law's family.  The Korean, while industrious and hardworking, are never fully accepted by the Japanese.  Some prevail despite bigotry and tragedy.
--Heather


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9780062663764
A Piece of the World Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780062663764
Availability: Special Order
Published: William Morrow & Company - February 21st, 2017

Jamie Wyeth's painting of Christina in a field in Maine leaves us wondering about the subject of his painting.  Kline enables us to see Christina full face and to know her life story, which is both tender and tragic.  Christina's story is powerful - a life of suffering and courage.


Reviewed by: 
Heather
Hag-Seed Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780804141291
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hogarth Press - October 11th, 2016

If you loved "The Tempest", you will find Atwood's modern version set in a prison entertaining and informative.  She knows characters well.  How clever a storyteller Atwood is.


Hag-Seed Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780804141314
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hogarth Press - May 16th, 2017

Reviewed by: 
Heather
And After the Fire Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062428516
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - May 3rd, 2016

As both historical fiction and a mystery, Belfer’s novel captures readers’ interest when Susanna Kessler’s uncle, a WWII veteran, wills her an unknown J.S. Bach cantata that he took from an empty Jewish house in Weimar, Germany.  Originally Sara Levy, music student of Wilhelm Bach, is asked to keep the manuscript hidden, as it contains anti-Semitic lyrics. 

The plot moves back and forth between the current time and Prussia in the late 1700s and early 1800s when salons allowed for people of different backgrounds to intermingle. 

The novel unravels the mystery of whose handwriting appears on the manuscript “keep in a private cabinet” and in whose hands it was safeguarded until the end of WWII.  Belfer did compelling research on music history and demonstrates how Sara and Samuel Levy overcame prejudice to make enduring contributions to society.


Reviewed by: 
Heather
News of the World Cover Image
$22.99
ISBN: 9780062409201
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - October 4th, 2016

A veteran of two wars, Captain Kidd travels from Texas town to town reading the news to the local people to earn a living.  He accepts responsibility for returning ten year old Johanna to her aunt and uncle in San Antonio.  Johanna’s family was killed by the Kiowa, and she lived as a captive with them for four years.  A dangerous journey for both of them - Kidd eventually wins the trust of Johanna.


Reviewed by: 
Heather
The Golden Age Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781609453329
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Europa Editions - August 16th, 2016

Two young people - Frank and Else, both polio victims - are convalescing in a recovery home, “The Golden Age,” in Australia, where they fall in love.  Their families, their physical therapist, Lidja, their peer Sullivan - all contribute to their ability to heal and lead productive lives.  Jonas Salk’s development of the polio vaccine in the 1950s would have spared them the disease.  A book that affirms the goodness in people.


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