The Paper Wasp

Thoughts  by Lauren Acampora, Grove Press 2019, 289 pages

Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Gift from a Friend, to be repaid in kind
 Why I read this now:  Coincide with Author Event

MOTIVATION for READING: Blurb sounded good!

Page 283: “What a sweetie pie”, the woman would say, and Shelby would say thanks as if the sweetness were her doing.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Two friends since grade school reconnect at a high school reunion. One is an actress, a rising star. The other is unhinged.

What goodreads says: “In small-town Michigan, Abby Graven leads a solitary life. Once a bright student on the cusp of a promising art career, she now languishes in her childhood home, trudging to and from her job as a supermarket cashier. Each day she is taunted from the magazine racks by the success of her former best friend Elise, a rising Hollywood starlet whose life in pictures Abby obsessively scrapbooks. At night Abby escapes through the films of her favorite director, Auguste Perren, a cult figure known for his creative institute, the Rhizome. Inspired by Perren, Abby draws fantastical storyboards based on her often premonitory dreams, a visionary gift she keeps hidden.”

The story has a low-level hum of dread, a creepiness that is expressed well in the narrative with Abby telling Elise what is happening – a present tense feel yet immediate past. We can only sense, “this ain’t gonna end well.”

page 198:  I understood that you were gone. I saw that you’d never return to me fully, that we’d forever remain on parallel tracks, never to mesh again, no matter how I twisted and swerved.

   October 2019 Author Event at Brown University, along with poet Jennifer Franklin. I didn’t have a chance to purchase works prior to the event but have both author’s books on order now…

THOUGHTS:  Oh the ending! NOT what I expected but I am impressed. The clues are all there, no lost threads but an exclaimed “OMG! WOW.” from me, thinking in my head that the author was quite clever; fabulously pulled together.

Very smart, imaginative writing.

Four slices of pie.

Page 145: As you spoke, I felt a spiking sensation under my skin. I didn’t want to hear any of it. I tried to tune out your words while I studied the black stone in my hand. I marveled at its weight and warmth. It was solid and eternal, not of this world burning with the patience of the ages. It would outlast your folly and my pain. It would outlast everything.

So…, my friend who invited me to the event gave me her book and thensonow I’m ordering the book to give back a copy to her since she is friends with the author and now they have another good excuse to get together — so Lauren can sign HER book!  too funny. Things we do…  Thanks Kim for inviting me to this.

I can’t wait to read The Wonder Garden. I love linked story collections and the reviews are excellent. Lauren Acampora is an author to watch!



Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Fever Dream

Thoughts  by Samanta Schweblin, Riverhead 2017, 192 pages

Translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell

Challenge: Tournament of Books 2018
Genre: Contemporary Lit?
Type/Source: eBook / Kindle-Amazon
 Why I read this now: It was next on the list with a prominent spot on the bracket chart. 

MOTIVATION for READING: This one has been on my want list for some time now! but I was often deterred by cost per page. Gulp. Please don’t ask how much I’ve spent this TOB.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is an odd fast-paced frantic story of poison.

It’s about … uh,

parents caring for their children, witchcraft, and the fuzzy blurring of dreams and reality? I think. And worms.

No, not really, no worms.

WHAT’s GOOD: The pacing, the atmosphere.

What’s NOT so good: It’s too short! But this likely makes it perfect.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I believe this one the Summer version of TOB which I failed to participate in for whatever reason (the reason was moving from NC to RI; my whole world turned topsy-turvy in a good way). So I missed the wonderful discussion but the few reviews I did read (mostly yesterday!) suggest big themes so if you are curious, read this book and then go find a few reviews.

RATING: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

“Sooner or later something bad is going to happen,” my mother would say. “And when it happens I want to have you close.”

Your mother is not important.




Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Sweet Lamb of Heaven

Thoughts slohbylmby Lydia Millet, WWNorton&Co 2016, 250 pages

Challenge: Rooster 2017
Genre: Adult Lit
Type/Source: Hardcover / Library
 Why I read this now: Came off hold before the others…

MOTIVATION for READING: The Tournament of Books by the Morning News – I have a shot at reading ALL the books on the short list. This is the 7th.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: In one sense, this is a story of a woman with a young daughter who realizes her marriage is a sham and flees her husband. But there is so much more that boggles the brain that I can’t even begin to describe it all. The fact that all of this is shared in less than 300 pages is amazing. It is about language and communication. It is dystopic and end-of-the-world fears. It is about us versus them. It’s quite freaky actually, but also extremely composed. Not tense, really, just shaky and slightly off-key. Everything is not quite right but not unbelievable even when reality REALLY gets distorted. It’s all a dream, right? Just a bad dream.

Having this book as your only read on a deserted island would NOT be recommended.

WHAT’s GOOD: The ability of the author to successfully make you doubt everything along with the narrator and yet also be separate.

What’s NOT so good: I can’t put my finger on why I didn’t ‘enjoy’ this more. It is that vague unsettling that makes it good. But.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think I’m just perplexed and left disillusioned. I am glad it’s over. It reminds me of a book somewhere that discussed the basics of the word ‘disease’: dis- the opposite of or absence of, -ease freedom from pain or trouble of the body or mind.  I am willing to read something else by Ms Millet. Any suggestions?

If you love the concepts and mysteries of language, you might want to consider this. If you are at all enraged by politics at the moment, you might want to skip this.

RATING: Three slices of pie.

LOTS of pie mentioned:  pumpkin, fake mincemeat, and pecan; cherry pie, berry pie, honey pie and chicken pot pie. Pie dough, too.

PS There is a fascinating 5 star review on goodreads by “Jill” (I only follow her) who described the story as “like a Rubik’s cube.” If you are interested in her thoughts, I suggest you go find her post.



Copyright © 2007-2017. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Mr. Splitfoot

Thoughts msfbysh by Samantha Hunt, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2016, 336 pages



Challenge: TOB Long List
Genre: Contemporary Lit? Not horror, as some have suggested.
Type/Source: eBook / Kindle
 Why I read this now: Only book not yet read on my eReader that is also on the TOB Long List.

MOTIVATION for READING: I downloaded this waaaaay back when. When Julianne of Outlandish Lit had her weird book reading adventure and then the book had a daily deal, I think. I do not usually pay the big bucks for eBooks… I will pay anything to read a Hardcover, it seems.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Cora is an adult and not feeling too ambitious about it all but she loves her mother. Her mother was a foster kid that got out and survived to be a decent mother herself despite not having a good example to follow. We don’t get much of Mom nor Grandma’s stories but we get enough.

So, Cora gets herself in a predicament and her Aunt Ruth, mom’s sister, comes to take her on a little trip, a walking trip. Call this a ROAD TRIP book. We have mistreated foster kids, religious cults, mothers and daughters, attempts at ‘adulting’, talking to the dead, con men, meteorites and Carl Sagan, odd music references that I still want to look up and just might but I’m at work and don’t judge me that I can write book reviews while at work but they don’t have much work-work to give me and I feel I’m doing academic work here in bookbloggerland, couldn’t you agree? I just can’t, however, play videos and listen to tunes. Must be aware

WHAT’s GOOD: I really liked this and though I only gave it 4 slices on goodreads I can only blame that on my rating ability going haywire in December. This book was so much more than I expected and dare I say it was sweet? It had tender moments.

What’s NOT so good: I’m really not sure – it could be that I missed it – but I never quite figured out the title…  I don’t ‘get’ the cover art, either. Maybe I’ll have to reread it. Maybe I should do the audiobook. I bet this would be an awesome audiobook – can anyone testify?

FINAL THOUGHTS: It has humor and light among the dark and gritty. I really liked it. The ending brings it all together AND surprises.

RATING:  Four slices of apple pie with extra whipped cream.

p.301 “…you’re feeling bad about serving your wife up to me like a tasty piece of pie, but that doesn’t mean you can just give her my money.”

I hope this makes the TOB! I will be cheering for it.


Copyright © 2007-2017. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

‘Salem’s Lot #SalemAlong

Thoughts slbysk ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, Simon & Schuster POCKET BOOKS 2009 (orig 1975), 458 pages

wian15 rip10500




Loved it! I think this might be the scariest one yet. I really do think I found this more heart-pounding . . . and suspenseful . . . and fear-inducing than most, including Pet Sematary.

I still only give it four slices of cherry pie but it has a lot of whipped cream on top.

SPOILERS AHEAD, be ye forewarned.

Since this is a readalong book and many of the participants will write up fabulous plot reviews for what happens in these pages, I will instead offer a few things that bugged me, confused me, or just interested me.

Am I right; tell me if I’m wrong, but, doesn’t it seem like Ben Mears is…  is…  is just like Larry Underwood and Dale Barbara and adult Danny Torrance? Who am I forgetting? The good guys, our heros. YEP, they have all started to blend in my brain.

Trish had a tweet that accused King of always killing off our favorites but to be honest, I must blot this out of my brain. (Maybe in The Stand? That book was just tooooo long.) HOWEVER. I was VERY sad and upset when Susan was drafted to the Barlow team.

I loved TeamMatt! Do you agree with me that this book had the slow steady chunk, chunk, click, clack of the roller coaster cart climbing up that shaky scaffolding and then .  .  .

SQUEEEEEEEE!!!   the plot pace picked up tremendously; the action, the terror, the throat-rippings were just a quick downhill scream to the finish.

Well done, Uncle Stevie. Well done.

I loved the kid. King really can write a cool kid. Thus, IT.

One thing that bugged the crap out of me was that the prologue kept referring to the tall man and “the kid that was not his son”. Now, it took me too long (cuz my brain just doesn’t think in a ‘I’m a-gonna figure this out’ kind of way) to realize that the two people at the beginning were Ben Mears and Mark. I couldn’t recall anywhere in the main story where they described Ben as tall. Oh well, no biggie.

And at the end, when I went back to the beginning and reread what the Mexican priest asked Ben about “what you have done in this New Jerusalem.” What THEY have DONE!? Does he mean “RUNNING AWAY”? or what exactly? Goodness, can you blame ’em?!

Did anyone else reread that initial article about the oddness of the deserted town to find Ben’s name since it was said that he was mentioned? I couldn’t find it.

What do you think happened to Susan’s dad? I still can’t believe the news media didn’t do more work to create more of a story; to have the Priest disappear and the town die and no one talked? Huh. Just sayin’.

Maybe I should write a fanfic of what happened to Father Callahan. Give me something to do for NaNoWriMo…

I can see why this would make a good re-read book. By the time you get all the characters straight, it’s over. I kept confusing Matt and Mark.

Anywho, it was fun, great time everyone! thanks for participating and thanks to Melissa for doing the organizing (and the teeth!) and Trish for the button!

IMG_3305 SL button fascinator Happy Halloween!

(Click on the Salem’s Lot button above to get to the Wrap Up Post…)







Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Sorcerer to the Crown

Thoughts sorcerer_front mech.indd Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, Ace Books 2015, 371 pages


I wanted to read this when Aarti mentioned it. Not sure why exactly, it certainly isn’t my typical read, but I was somehow captivated and knew this would be my first book for #Diversiverse 2015.

I am so glad that I acted on this impulse – I loved it!

I loved it for the vocabulary. See below.

I loved it for the energy, the vivacity.

I loved it for the confounding character of Prunella. She was unique and I loved her power-forward attitude.

I won’t review it – you can read Aarti’s review, or Jenny’s or Olduvai’s.

I want to read the next in the series. Crazy, right? (Long time readers of this blog know that I am usually a one and done (or not at all a fan) on series…) And on that note, I can say that the ending is sufficient as a stand alone book. Whew.

I should probably look for a GIF to do that whew… (and a BIG thank you to Jenny – my favorite GIF-ologist – for the always appreciated assistance: the right-click on image trick worked…)

Maybe not quite the right whew but it is VERY IMPORTANT to me when a series book does NOT end on a crazy annoying cliffhanger. (Patrick Ness I’m looking at you.)

One more cool thing… The Faery King has a lobster courtier.  copleyl But, of course.


Question for those of you all in the know, this book would be an excellent gift for a 14 year old, yes?

And finally, a book connection coincidence link:  and I quote “Since the decision to become a parent is invariably self interested, it is my belief that a parents obligation is to the child, and the child’s obligation is to itself.” –> this reminds me of the issue that irked me in the book I reviewed prior to this one. I LIKE this quote.


VOCAB – I learned a lot in this book. About magic and fantasy terms, mostly. I didn’t note page numbers this time, sorry.

manumit – (a word that shocks me that I don’t know) – release from slavery; set free

demesne – land attached to a mansion; legal possession of land

emolument – the returns arising form office or employment, usually in form of compensation; advantage

lamia – female vampire

cantrip – a witch’s trick

sigil – seal, signet, sign to have occult power

stoichiometry – branch of chemistry dealing with application of laws of definite proportions and conservation of mass/energy

froward – habitually disposed to disobedience

asafetida – the dried fetid gum resin of the root of several west Asian plants; flavor or medicine

theurgy – art of compelling or persuading a god to do or refrain

prolix – using too many words!!!

redound – to have a particular result

bombazine – a silk fabric in twill weave, dyed black

thaumaturgy – the performance of miracles/magic (doh)

dogsbody – a person who is given boring, menial tasks to do.

louche – disreputable or sordid in a rakish or appealing way.

putative – generally considered

dropsical – affected with an accumulation of an excessive amount of watery fluid in cells, tissues, or body cavities

bougie – a thin, flexible surgical instrument for exploring or dilating a passage of the body. OR urban dictionary: Aspiring to be a higher class than one is.

beldam – a malicious and ugly woman, especially old,  witch.

dido – perform mischievous tricks or deeds.

gutta percha – a hard, tough thermoplastic substance that is the coagulated latex of certain Malaysian trees

cant – lively, lusty

AND one that my i{Phone app for Merriam-Webster didn’t have (there were more but I didn’t capture)








Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

October and Uncle Stevie

News SL button

Click on the button above to go to Melissa’s blog.

CHEERS to Melissa and Trish for co-hosting this readalong!


Tweet at me with hashtag #SalemAlong if you are joining us. I have a list started – feel free to subscribe. (Go to my profile and click on LISTS.)


Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Anansi Boys

Thoughts abbynga Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, Harper Audio 2005, 10’8″

Narrated by the FABULOUS Lenny Henry – awesome job.

For RIP X.

Blurb from

Fat Charlie Nancy is not actually fat. He was fat once but he is definitely not fat now. No, right now Fat Charlie Nancy is angry, confused and more than a little scared — right now his life is spinning out of control, and it is all his dad’s fault.

If his rotter of an estranged father hadn’t dropped dead at a karaoke night, Charlie would still be blissfully unaware that his dad was Anansi the Spider God. He would have no idea that he has a brother called Spider, who is also a god. And there would be no chance that said brother would be trying to take over his life, flat and fiancé, or, to make matters worse, be doing a much better job of it than him. Desperate to reclaim his life, Charlie enlists the help of four more-than-slightly eccentric old ladies and their unique brand of voodoo and between them they unleash a bitter and twisted force to get rid of Spider. But as darkness descends and badness begins is Fat Charlie Nancy going to get his life back in one piece or is he about to enter a whole netherworld of pain?

Such fun and thrilling and yes, safe, to be plunged into the joy and humor of a Gaiman story. He is just delightful. I love his perspectives on people and ordinary things and his creativity to go way beyond ordinary. His writing is delightful.

Rating: Four solid slices of pie. (No noted mention of pie within the book.)


Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Secret History

Thoughts tshbydtndt The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Penguin 1992, Audiobook, 22’9″

Narrated by the author.

For RIP X.

My second book by this author. The 52nd book of the year.

DNF’d. (I got to about half way through. I am counting this as a book anyway.)

What’s it ABOUT: Five students enrolled in an exclusive Greeks program of a small liberal arts college decide that one of them must die. It’s not arbitrary – I would have voted to kill him, too, most likely. Maybe. He did get extremely irritating.

The fact of the murder is not a secret from the first page; this book is all in the slow unveiling and feelings (dread?) of why and how and probably the aftermath head-games but I gave up when it was taking too long to get to the dastardly deed.

I am thinking I sound incredibly heartless here. Oh well. IT’s FICTION, PEOPLE!

I couldn’t help but picture Holly Hunter while listening to this. Tartt sounds just like Hunter in Raising Arizona.

A few days after I decided I didn’t have the patience for 10 more hours of Donna describing every little thing and not getting on with the action parts, I read a list of what is required to make a book “Southern Gothic” Someone somewhere asked Ms. Tartt how she managed to make The Secret History a Southern Gothic, but she denied it by saying, “No it’s not; it’s set in Vermont.” LOL

Really now, I just got impatient and wasn’t quite sure if I would encounter anything new in the book – it was just. TOO. long. I’m sure I would have been much more inclined to read it if I had every studied Greek. OR a good book to read on a semester break or long weekend and definitely NOT the first weeks of September when the rush of school start and the TOO-MANY-THINGS to do of real life causes distraction stress.

RATING:  Three slices of pie.

Pie – chapter 8, “Henry ordered an enormous dinner: pea soup, roast beef, a salad, mashed potatoes with gravy, coffee, pie and ate it silently and with a great amount of methodical relish.”


Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Woman on the Roof

Thoughts wotrbymge Woman on the Roof by Mignon G Eberhart, John Curley & Assoc, Inc. 1978 (orig 1967), 359 pages

FIRST Sentence: There are times when the shadow on the terrace seemed to take on the shape of a woman’s body flung down, left in its blood and beauty.

What it’s ABOUT: From the book blurb, inside cover:

Susan had known Marcus all her life; she married him after his first wife had fallen from their glamorous penthouse. Then Marcus died the same way. . . Susan found she hadn’t really known him at all. Murder lurked in the very walls around her, and slowly she came to realize that she was the next victim.

WHY I read this, now:  Best I explain that I have had this book in my possession for a few years. I ‘borrowed’ it (or rescued, whicheveryouprefer) from the nursing home where I was Volunteer/Technology-Trainer/Human-half-of-Pet-Therapy-Team/Adhoc-Library-Curator. I was tasked with throwing away!!! a bunch of books to make room for NEW books donated. I ended up giving the discards to another nursing home but kept a few that I really wanted to read. This was one of them for some reason – we had quite a collection of Eberharts and I was intrigued. Then this RIP X was announced and since it was on my shelf, waa laa.

What’s GOOD: Well, I certainly was intrigued by the mystery! I was also amused by the life in NYC in the 60s and obvious privilege of the characters which was never really mentioned but felt. Penthouse, gloves, lots and lots of smoking, — if I had actually watched any Mad Men, I would have to say it was that. Someone who knows NYC would probably get a kick out of the location. The penthouse was not too far from Central Park (“across Madison and Fifth Avenues she could see the thin young greens of Central Park“, p. 19) and they had elevator men plus door men. So, swanky? or just 60s swanky? I dunno – not my world.

What is also good about this book is that it really wasn’t written very well. (you’re asking, ‘huh?’ wait! stay with me…) THUS, I wondered if I could do better. You know a book is really good when you read it and KNOW that you never ever ever could be a writer cuz, um WOW. Right? so when a book comes along that has been published and has had reasonably nice things said about it, you gotta wonder, could I write a book? (yes, I am called to the lifestyle of authors – just don’t think I really have any stories in me… Could always be wrong, of course, and maybe this year is my NANOWRIMO?)

What’s NOT so good:  Yea, well, it really had some holes and much lack of that something that makes a decent book. A few sentence fragments. Characters were NOT fleshed out. AND that fact that the very first sentence starts with “THERE ARE __”. I mean, really. Who gets away with that?! (I must have had a very mean English teacher rap me on the knuckles for writing ANY sentence with the word ‘there’.) ((Fact: No teacher rapped me on the knuckles – I had excellent English teachers.))

FINAL thoughts: Shall I just go ahead and spoil it? Our dear protagonist Susan lives to finally run away with the man of her dreams. Bad guy gets caught. Happy ending. Awwwww. It really wasn’t a horrible read. I thought it rather amusing and like a comfort read – a cozy mystery maybe? I don’t have enough experience with those…

Still, it got me thinking… What IF you thought your fiance had died in the war but showed up a few months AFTER you married that older handsome charming dude that was nice to you. And really rich. Do you ask for a divorce to marry your ONE TRUE LOVE? or say, “oh well, so sad, too late, buck up.” THAT is your writing prompt. Ready? GO!

RATING: THREE STARS (and no pie reference.)





Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.