It's Time to Meet Delaney
I sat down on a free Sunday (truly, the only day without something pressing on the calendar) and wolfed down the entire book, Toes on the Dash, by Karen C Whalen. This is rather amazing given my busy schedule and the genre. Toes on the Dash is a cozy mystery, which is not something I've read much of as an adult. Sure, I've stumbled into a few, but Karen has me hooked! And here's why: Delaney.
I LOVE this character.
Delaney is a young woman with a somewhat nagging mother and little direction in her life when she finds herself the owner of a tow truck after her estranged father dies. This shoe-a-hol-ic, who picks what shoes to wear based on the mood their color will evoke, is not a natural fit for tow truck driving, and so, hilarity ensues. But not just hilarity - murder! On Delaney's very first tow, she drives a dead body to the pound and becomes suspect #1 in a murder!
Whalen did an amazing job keeping me guessing by providing half a dozen suspects with 'cause' - and kept me laughing at Delaney. However, the most impressive part of the book is how Whalen developed Delaney into a well-rounded character. She's way more than a ditzy shoe lover. We follow her through guilt over her father, anxiety about whether she is good enough, and compassion toward others. Simply stated, I'm in love with Delaney Morran and am so glad I read Toes on the Dash. I will definitely be reading Books 2 and 3 (Hands on the Wheel, Eyes on the Road) ASAP, and Book #4 (Friends Come to Call) which comes out in October.
Head over to Karen C Whalen's website and join her mailing list. Buy her books. You wont' be sorry. And be sure to let me know what you think!
Banned Books Discussion
I am against book banning, against authors being told what they can and cannot write about, and against someone else making decisions for me. I firmly believe that parents have the right to say no to books for their children, but I don't believe that parents have the right to say no to other people's children.
During our discussion, we found that many banned books were coming-of-age type stories where a child, teen, or young adult had witnessed or experienced something traumatic and found a way out the other side. Generally, these books were banned for being "too" something. Too sexual. Too racial. Too stereotypical. Too violent. Too real.
My hope is that no matter what you believe or what prefer to read, that you also believe that same right belongs to everyone.
And with that, I'll step down from my soapbox and present you with a list of books that were read by members of the group. Each book was banned, either immediately upon publication, or at some point later in its lifespan.
My hope is that you will read at least one of these books to see if you can figure out why they were banned and also determine why these books might be just the right book for someone despite the elements that put it into the banned pile.
It's Time to Meet Jo
Just as with The Authenticity Project, Stephanie Affinito also suggested Belittled Women by Amanda Sellet and then gifted me with a copy. (She tried to gift me with a copy of The Authenticity Project, but I purchased my own immediately upon her recommendation and didn't give her the chance! LOL).
My favorite character was Jo, as I'm sure it was supposed to be. The novel is about a woman with three girls that she named after Little Women characters. She then created a living book experience, much like the living history experiences around the country, only hers centered on Little Women. Belitted Women Jo hated being Little Women Jo, and we get to watch as she finally grows into her true self.
It's definitely a YA coming of age book, but one that I found really interesting. It brought back memories of trying to be my own person - specifically not my parents - only to eventually learn that I didn't have to throw away everything to be me. And now? I'm probably more like them than my teenage self would care to realize!
If you enjoyed Little Women and are willing to delve into a YA RomCom type book, I would recommend it. It's fun and sweet and might just be revealing!
Teri M Brown, author of An Enemy Like Me and Sunflowers Beneath the Snow connects readers with characters they'd love to invite to lunch.
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