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Nerdy Special List September 2017

September 20, 2017 – 12:08 am | 4 Comments

I’m late getting the list up this month because I ran away. It’s been an exhausting year and I needed a respite from everything, so I went to stay with relatives where there’s no cell service …

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Nerdy Special List August 2017

August 7, 2017 – 1:37 am | 7 Comments

Summer is almost over and I’m relieved because I’m melting. But I’ve had more excellent reads this summer than I did in the past few years, and many of the standout books are August releases.

Here are our recommendations this month.

From Jen at Brown Dog Solutions:

Ghost of the Innocent Man: A True Story of Trial and Redemption by Benjamin Rachlin (Little, Brown; August 15)

In a troubling look at the rape conviction of Willie J. Grimes, little justice is found in the American justice system.

When Grimes was convicted, his lawyer believed him innocent. When the North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services examined Grimes’s case, they too believed him innocent. When he was referred to the Center on Actual Innocence, they believed he was innocent. But no one could help Grimes because the process was never deficient; the jury simply made the wrong determination of guilt.

Ghost of the Innocent Man is nonfiction that reads like the most heart-pounding of thrillers, and that makes it all the more terrifying. (Read Jen’s full review at Shelf Awareness.)

Pablo and Birdy by Alison McGhee, illus. by Ana Juan (Atheneum/Caitlyn Diouhy Books, ages 8-12, August 22)

This sweet, mystical realism middle-grade book about an orphan and his pet parrot examines the theme “the winds of change mean fortune lost or fortune gained.” As the almost-ten-year-old Pablo discovers when he goes in search of the truth about where he came from, it isn’t always easy to tell when what’s been lost and what’s been gained.

Packed full of rich characters, an intoxicating island setting, and an enchanting myth about a seafaring parrot that knows all the words of the world, this heartwarming novel will have readers searching for the seafarer and craving elephant ear pastries.

From Rory at Fourth Street Review:

If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss (Sourcebooks Landmark, August 22, 2017)

Sadie Blue is seventeen, pregnant, and a Loretta Lynn super fan. She’s also an abused newlywed at the end of her rope. Living in the impoverished Appalachian community of Baines Creek, Sadie is supported by many of the small town’s inhabitants.

Told from multiple perspectives, Leah Weiss’ debut novel paints a portrait of a struggling town filled with struggling people. Colorful characters and a unique voice make this a standout debut. If the Creek Don’t Rise is an excellent example of gritty, southern fiction with a dash of hope.

From Lauren at Malcolm Avenue Review:

The Party by Elizabeth Day (Little, Brown; August 15)

Three weeks following a party at an upper-crust British vacation estate, one attendee is in critical care and Martin Gilmour is undergoing police questioning.

Through Gilmour’s interrogation, Day unravels the dynamics and history of two couples linked by the husbands’ longtime friendship. Sociopathy, class structure, devotion, and betrayal all play a part in the evening’s spiral into a moment of violence.

From PCN:

The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh (Ecco, August 1)

Calvin Cooper is the sheriff in an isolated Texas town full of people who are starting over after they either committed a violent crime or witnessed one. But since the residents have had their memories entirely or partially erased, they don’t know if they’re innocents or killers. Things go well for 8 years, until people start getting murdered.

The Blinds defies categorization with its unique blend of Western, sci-fi, dark humor, and examination of fate and human nature. I normally don’t even like Western or sci-fi, but this blistering, unpredictable novel moved me with its moments of beauty among life’s brutalities.

What are you reading this month?


July 19, 2017 – 11:53 pm | 7 Comments

I was in a bad reading slump recently. Picked up six novels and put them all back down after reading only the opening paragraphs. Nothing pulled me into its world, or introduced me to characters I …

Nerdy Special List July 2017

July 6, 2017 – 11:41 pm | 2 Comments
beautiful, terrible thing

Oh, man, it’s been so hot here, I’m tempted to run down the street naked and dive into random sprinklers. Mr. PCN said the neighbors would just think it’s a regular Friday.
The other day, I was reading …

Nerdy Special List June 2017

June 8, 2017 – 9:13 pm | 2 Comments
the child

School’s out and summer has started, which means lazy days—or in my case, lazier days. I blame it on the heat. And laziness.
But there’s one activity I’ll always do a lot of and that’s reading. The NSL contributors and …

Nerdy Special List May 2017–Take 2

May 8, 2017 – 12:44 pm | 4 Comments
where dead men meet

OK, let’s try this again. Earlier this post was unfinished but published without my knowledge or permission. While writing it, I experienced technical issues so I saved what I had and asked tech support to look into …


March 15, 2017 – 11:08 pm | One Comment

Does anyone need a refresher on the plot of this “tale as old as time”? The one about a girl whose kindness saves a selfish prince and his household from a curse? No? OK, great. I can jump straight into …

Book Review: DISTRESS SIGNALS by Catherine Ryan Howard

March 9, 2017 – 1:55 am | One Comment
distress signals

Catherine Ryan Howard’s Distress Signals—shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards’ Crime Novel of the Year after its UK release—opens with a man plunging off a cruise ship into dark waters, but readers will have to …

Nerdy Special List March 2017

March 7, 2017 – 1:18 am | 2 Comments
follow me down

March brings spring, and whoo boy, I could use some spring right now. Heavy rains (causing a tree to fall on a friend’s car—while she was in it) were rough, turning me into more of …

Oscars 2017: And the Winner for Biggest Flub Is…

February 27, 2017 – 2:49 am | 4 Comments
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Wow. I tuned into the Oscars hoping for at least one surprise and I got it, all right.
In case you’d bailed on the very long show and haven’t heard: the wrong best picture winner was announced (La …

Nerdy Special List February 2017

February 7, 2017 – 10:07 pm | One Comment
darkness absolute

Like many people, I’ve been distressed by what’s going on in DC and have found it hard to focus on reading for pleasure. I also wondered if movie and book reviews are too frivolous to write at …

Nerdy Special List January 2017

January 11, 2017 – 6:48 pm | 6 Comments
blood and bone

Since almost half the month has passed, I figured I should get this list up. I’ve been moving slowly due to January rains, days that get dark at 1:00 p.m., and my general tendency to …

Golden Globes 2017: Predictable *and* Surprising

January 9, 2017 – 12:27 am | 5 Comments

Here we go, the first of one million award shows this season. I always look forward to the Globes because it’s usually the loosest, wackiest award show, with drunk celebs and the Hollywood Foreign Press often choosing …

Favorite 2016 Books

January 4, 2017 – 6:51 pm | 8 Comments

I’m baaaack!
I took off for a couple of weeks over the holidays, and when I go on vacation, I go off the grid. There’s no blogging or social media, sometimes no Internet or cell reception. I …

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