Saturday, March 13, 2021

What We're Reading

 


LUCY BURDETTE: I’m still not reading as quickly as I was before the pandemic set in, but I am reading slowly and steadily. And two books stand out from the last couple of months. We had the author of THE EMPTY CELL visit this blog a while back, but even though Paulette Alden is a dear friend, I'd put off reading it. The subject matter is difficult--the lynching of a black man, Willie Earle, in Greenville, South Carolina in the 1940's. But when I finally started reading, I found it to be one of my best books of the year. And now it's the "One Book, One Chain of Islands" read for the month of March. Highly recommended!


Another one I really loved was Barbara O'Neal's THE LOST GIRLS OF DEVON. The coast of England, sad family backstories, a lost love, found again, tarot cards, and a mystery. What could be better?


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I have had a lucky spate of REALLY good books. The first, and truly, it is so good that I don’t have the words--is WE BEGIN AT THE END by Chris Whitaker. It is beyond fabulous, and it’s crime fiction if To Kill A Mockingbird is crime fiction, or Citizen VInce, or The Great Gatsby.  Oh, just--go find it. I interviewed Chris on FB for Poisoned Pen, and his story is astonishing.  Here’s the link--please watch.  The book is extraordinary.


I’ve read a couple more fabulous books, too, but I don't want to mention them because I don't want the brilliant authors to feel like second choices! So--more next time. 


RHYS BOWEN:  My latest read was Ellie Griffith’s The Postscript Murders. Lighter than the Stranger Diaries but I fun read as it takes place in the world of mystery writing, including a literary conference and panels of literary snobs next up is Jackie Winspear’s latest.


HALLIE EPHRON: RIght now I’m teaching a Sisters in Crime GUPPIES class on developing a memorable protagonist. I’ve been having a ball reading the participants’ exercises but it is all consuming. Barely time in the day to turn around, move the laundry, check that mail… though I’ve made time to eat another piece of the chocolate cake my daughter made for my birthday. By the way, there are more than a few of those Guppies whose books will one day grace our bedside tables. A lot of excellent writers honing their craft. Find out more about Guppies at https://www.sinc-guppies.org.


DEBORAH CROMBIE: My most enjoyable recent read was Amy Pershing's A SIDE OF MURDER, which I literally couldn't put down. Pershing has a terrific voice, and I loved the characters and the Cape Cod setting. I can't wait for the next installment in this new series.


Next up for me are the new Charles Todd, A FATAL LIE, and the new Lucie Montgomery novel from Ellen Crosby, THE FRENCH PARADOX. (Both the Todds and Ellen will be guesting on JRW next week!) AND I have both THE POSTSCRIPT MURDERS and THE NIGHT HAWKS from Elly Griffiths waiting after that!


JENN McKINLAY: I just devoured our Rhys’s THE VENICE SKETCHBOOK - so poignant and lovely! You must read it! Next I plowed through Sarah J Maas’s A COURT OF SILVER FLAMES - I’ve been waiting YEARS for this fifth in the series - totally worth it. Next up is an ARC of Mhairi McFarlane’s JUST LAST NIGHT. And then, I have a wonderful stack of ARCs for blurbs. My fictional life is full and rich.


Reds, what are you reading and loving?

70 comments:

  1. I read . . . and loved . . . ARCs of Elizabeth Goddard’s PRESENT DANGER, Eric Dezenhall’s FALSE LIGHT, and A.J. Tata’s CHASING THE LION.
    Also on my list of favorites: Sarah Flannery Murphy’s GIRL ONE, John Marrs’s THE MINDERS, and Charles Siegel’s THE ABCs OF GLOBAL WARMING: WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE SCIENCE, THE DANGERS, AND THE SOLUTIONS, Jessica Fletcher/Terrie Farley Moran’s MURDER SHE WROTE: KILLING IN A KOI POND, and Terri Morrison Kaiser’s THE WITNESS TREE . . . . Right now, I’m reading Joanna Schaffhausen’s GONE FOR GOOD . . . .

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    1. As a climate change researcher, I will check out Siegel's book. I'm always interested to see how these types of books translate difficult climate change concepts and solutions in a way to connect/resonate with regular people.

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    2. What a spectacular list! You are the best. And so wonderful to see you at first chapter fun! Hooray!. Hope you enjoyed it.

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    3. Hank, I was glad that everything worked so that I could be at First Chapter Fun . . . I always enjoy it.

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  2. Recent reads have been Elly Griffiths’ amazing latest, The Postscript Murder and His he Night Hawks. Debs, you have such treasures in store for you. A couple of more books I’ve read for review are The Furbidden Fatality by Deborah Blake (so glad I was asked to review it) and Murder on the Commons by Will North. The first three are reviewed on my The Reading Room blog. I’m waiting to get a publication (and ISBN #) from Will. It’s his fourth West and Morgan book, and I loved it. Such great reading all.

    I’m reading another favorite author right now, Anne Cleeland. Her latest Doyle and Acton, Murder in Unsound Mind, just came out. After that, I have another ARC, Annette Dashofy’s stand-alone that will be out in May. I love Annette’s Zoe Chambers series. And, then I have lots of catch-up reading to do, too. I’m f course, but there will be even more to read after seeing what you all are reading here. Oh, Hank, that was a great interview you did with Chris Whitaker. We Begin at the End is on my list, too. Lucy, The Empty Cell sounds like a hard read, but I definitely am adding it to my TBR list.

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    1. I think I need to read Postscript Murder!

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    2. You will enjoy it Edith

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    3. Thank you! He was really fun to talk to, and yes, his story is so unique! But the book is absolutely fantastic. xxxx

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    4. Kathy, I read Will North's book, too, and loved it.

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    5. Edith, I agree with Dru. I think you will be glad you read The Postscript Murders. Hank, you did such a great job. Debs, I was hoping you'd had time to read Will's new book. I know you two are dear friends.

      I forgot to mention the name Of Annette Dashofy's upcoming book. It's Death by Equine.

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  3. It's still taking me forever to read a book, but the last few books I've read were THE HIDING PLACE by Paula Munier, MURDER BY PAGE ONE by Olivia Matthews, BITTERROOT LAKE by Alicia Beckman, FATAL FRIED RICE by Vivien Chien, and I'm currently reading SHRIMPLY DEAD by Maggie Toussaint.

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  4. Because of residual COVID fatigue and my worsening eyesight, my reading speed is still way below normal. I have dozens of ARCs and some new First Chapter Fun finds to keep me entertained.

    Like DRU, I also enjoyed reading/recently read THE HIDING PLACE by Paula Munier, FATAL FRIED RICE by Vivien Chien. NO SIN UNPUNISHED by LynDee Walker was another great read in the Faith McClellan Texas Ranger series.

    But my most anticipated reads this month are two books by Icelandic author Ragnar Jonasson. WINTERKILL is the last book in the Ari Thor police procedurals. And I got an ARC of THE GIRL WHO DIED, his new stand-alone.

    And I bought a copy of THE ANCESTOR by Lee Matthew Goldberg that was read by HANK last Thursday on First Chapter Fun last night since it was on sale for 99 cents.

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    1. I also enjoyed NO SIN UNPUNISHED by LynDee Walker

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    2. Grace, you know our goal is to make your TBR pile hit the ceiling!

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    3. HANK, if I could post a photo of my overflowing TBR bookcase it would show that you have succeeded, lol.

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  5. The Guppies rock! I love that they let old timers like Hank, Annette, and me stay on. I also loved A Side of Murder.

    I'm currently enjoying Dianne Freeman's historical A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder. I just finished Riviera Gold. I read The Beekeeper's Apprentice years ago and haven't read one until the newest. What was I thinking? Now I must binge read all the way through the Russell and Holmes series.

    Next up is Susie Calkins's new Sign of the Gallows, and an ARC of Kathleen Ernst's new Hanneke Bauer mysteries set in 1855. Catching up with past, I also have Margaret Maron's Bootlegger's Daughter on the stack. I can't wait for the Venice Sketchbook and Bitterroot Lake!

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    1. EDITH: I am also looking forward to reading BITTERROOT LAKE, and for me, I can get your Taffy Shop book #2 in Canada at the end of March! Hope you enjoy BOOTLEGGER'S DAUGHTER. It's a classic.

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    2. Yay - enjoy another Cape Cod adventure!

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  6. Wow, lots of books and authors to add to my TBR list. I've had Iona Whishaw's A Killer In King's Cove sitting on my shelf since her latest book was featured on First Chapter Fun. I am blown away by the gorgeous language and setting. It so appealed to me that I have already read the next two in the series. It begins soon after WWII has ended and Lane Winslow has left London and her job in the secret service for a tiny backwoods town in British Columbia, Canada. A murder brings the police in from the nearby city and complicates her newfound peaceful life.

    Irwin and I are both reading David Baldacci's Atlee Pine books and I just finished Daylight. I am also reading several cozy series from the first books, by authors who have been guests and friends here including Mark Pryor, Kate Carlisle, and Daniella Barnett. Several books mentioned above are on my TBR list already.

    I have to go now but will read all your suggestions later in the weekend. This is my favorite blog each month.

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    1. I had not been familiar with Iona until then! She is so terrific…

      And I agree! I love how our tastes are often similar, but then… Surprise!

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  7. HANK: WOW, I just finished watching your PP interview with Chris Whitaker. What a life story, and of course, you did an amazing job as interviewer.

    And also just got the digital ARC of Annette Dashofy's stand-alone this morning. Looks good.

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    1. I have Annette's book preordered!

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    2. I'll pre-order Annette's new book, too. I have already pre-ordered Jenn's next two and I can hardly Wait For It! Also Rhys's Venice Sketchbook. I am poised to begin reading 2 of Edith's series and also Barbara Ross, all already in my Kindle. This will be a catch up year for me on several authors' series.

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    3. I pre-ordered Annette's book too.

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    4. Thank you! Yes, he had quite a life… Can you imagine what’s happened to him? And now… Wow.

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  8. I did a blog post that went up this week on Weird Sisters Publishing that talked about first lines from favorite romance reads. It was a fun post to write, but now I'm caught up in re-reading several of those long-time favorites. Re-reading seems to be my speed right now.

    BUT! I loved Amy Pershing's A SIDE OF MURDER, and I have the latest Deanna Raybourn/Veronica Speedwell book on tap. Also Paige Shelton's A COLD WIND. And I gobbled up the newest J. D. Robb, FAITHLESS IN DEATH because those books are just comfort food for me. Now I'm going to have to pre-order Annette's new book, and comb back through all the things y'all have recommended. I was tied up in a staff meeting on Thursday, so I haven't had the chance to listen to Hank reading THE ANCESTOR yet, but it sounds really interesting, too.

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    1. oh I forgot about Paige's book, have to get that on my list. And so many other good ones from the group this morning. I'll never catch up!!

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    2. I just finished reading Gig's Deep Ellen books. I loved them. Will review on Amazon in the next week or two. Reminded me of Kevin Hearne!

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    3. GIGI: Hank's reading of THE ANCESTOR was so good that I bought a Kindle copy last night. Don't know how long the 99 cents sale will last.

      And I am glad that lots of Reds and readers are liking A SIDE OF MURDER. I won a copy of the book at MYSTERY LOVERS KITCHEN and am hoping to get my copy to read soon.

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    4. Gigi, I read the blog post on first lines, what fun!

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    5. LITTLE SECRETS by Jennifer Hillier
      THE POSTSCRIPT MURDERS by Elly Griffiths
      THE CHILDREN'S BIBLE by Lydia Millet
      SMOKE by Joe Ide
      GROSTEQUE by Katsuo Kirino
      A WILL TO KILL by RV Raman
      EXIT by Belinda Bauer
      LOVE AND OTHER LIES by Ben McPherson

      This is what I've read since mid-February when I had my accident. All are good and worth the read. Outstanding are EXIT and THE POSTSCRIPT MURDERS. THE CHILDREN'S BIBLE and GROTESQUE are troubling, not for the faint of heart.

      And all are great entertainment.

      Same day surgery has relieved me of all that hardware still out of my leg, home and pain free.

      God bless nerve blocks and the anesthesiologists who administer them.


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    6. I loved Amy Pershing's debut series.

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    7. Oh, Paige and I will be on a panel with the other Mary Higgins Clark nominees :-) Monday at Brookline BookSmith! It is virtual… Let me find the link. I hope you will come join us!

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    8. Gigi's Deep Ellum stories rock. (Darn auto- correct!)

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    9. Progress, Ann! I'm so pleased for you.

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    10. Judy, Gigi's Deep Ellum stories are wonderful, and what fun to be able to read them one right after the other!

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    11. here is the link! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/panel-discussion-mary-higgins-clark-award-nominees-2021-tickets-142284477703

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  9. Most recent read: Rhy's ABOVE THE BAY OF ANGELS, which was fantastic.

    Current read: THE LATE SHOW, by Michael Connelly (would you believe it's my first from him?)

    Next Up: THE POSTSCRIPT MURDER, Elly Griffith

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    2. Liz, Michael Connelly's books are terrific, his characters are classic!

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  10. Michael Connelly's latest Lincoln lawyer book, THE LAW OF INNOCENCE.

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  11. Wow! So many good books to read! I just started reading THE LAST FLIGHT and next will be A SIDE OF MURDER. I've preordered Edit Maxwell's latest Quaker midwife mystery and know that will be great. Still working through Mark de Catristrique's Buryin' Barry mysteries and then will read the latest Sam Blackman, FATAL SCORES.

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  12. I enjoyed series new to me
    By Susan McCormick: The Fog Ladies ( San Francisco Murder Mystery series )
    By Ellery Adams: A Secret, Book and Scone Society series
    By Edith as Maddie Day: A Country Store Mystery series
    Looking forward to the release of Edith Maxwell’s next in the Quaker Midwife series : A Changing Light
    I’m also going through Jenny Colgan’s books, they are not mysteries but I like her writing.

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    1. DANIELLE: All great reads, glad you found these books.

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  13. So many books!

    Less, by Andrew Sean Greer, which my book club read. It won a Pulitzer, and deserved it, for all the down-the-rabbit-hatch imagery and symbolism.

    Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo I'd heard so many raves about it, including from Catriona MacPherson, that I couldn't pass it up. Life-changing perspective.

    We've talked about children's books a lot, and Edith Maxwell and others have mentioned their love for the Betsy-Tacey stories. Someone donated the first book to our Little Free Library, so I sat down in front of the fire one evening to read it. Charming!

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    1. Karen, I read Girl, Woman, Other last year. It is an extraordinary book.

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    2. I will add it to my ever-larger TBR shelf. I’m still enjoying a lot of crime fiction from 2020.

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  14. OMG, I forgot to mention S. C. Perkins Lethal Legacy which is on my bookshelf right now. Her next book in the series comes out in the Spring. Such a good series!

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    1. JUDY: I also like this series, and the second book was real good.

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  15. Just finished Jane Thornley's The Carpet Cipher and am starting the next one in the series, The Crown That Lost Its Head. Last week I was in Venice and Moracco and now I'm in Lisbon or at least that is where I'm traveling in these books. I need to find Faithless In Death, and have the last three books of the Monkeewrench series sitting on my shelf. Interesting item: The Crown That Lost Its Head is set in present day and acknowledges the pandemic and how the characters live and work with the restrictions.

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  16. I love reading these! It is such an insight to all the reds and readers!

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  17. I finished two advance copies recently. The first was Marc Cameron's BONE RATTLE and the second was Tracy Gardner's RUBY RED HERRING. I've submitted draft reviews for both of the books to Mystery Scene.

    Yesterday I started MURDER ON THE METRO by Jon Land, the first book in his takeover of the Margaret Truman Capital Crimes series.

    Oh and I picked up the paperback edition of Paige Shelton's THE STOLEN LETTER yesterday. Also looking forward to reading Amy Pershing's A SIDE OF MURDER.

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  19. I am halfway through the new Charles Todd Ian Rutledge novel, A Fatal Lie, and it's such a good story. I can't wait to talk more about it next week.

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  20. Looks like I must get PostScript (Griffiths) ASAP! Like a lot of other readers, I've had trouble losing myself in books this year but I read one this week that I couldn't put down - The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. It' a family story A lot happens but I wouldn't call it strongly plotted. The events and the characters and of course the quality of the writing kept me turning pages as fast as I could. Yes, there are some plausibility issues - the scattering of negative reader reviews jumped on those - but I still couldn't stop reading. I've just started Rhys's The Last Mrs. Summers, which I know I will thoroughly enjoy. (We actually were talking about a Cornwall vacation. Before. And might still to it next year) And waiting on my bedside table - The Paragon Hotel by Lindsay Faye

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    1. Triss, yes, I highly recommend you get The Postscript Murders right away. The Dutch House was one of my favorite reads last year. I love most everything Ann Patchett writes, with my favorites being The Dutch House, Bel Canto, and State of Wonder. Have you read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler? It's another family drama book that is unforgettable. I also loved your other reads, The Last Mrs. Summers and The Paragon Hotel. Now, when again is the next Erica Donato?

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    2. i just ordered The Postscript Murders! Thanks for asking about Erica. Look for an email.

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  21. Oh, and my librarian strongly recommended The Thursday Murder Club. She told me it is laugh out loud funny and then she reserved it for me.

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    1. Judy, I thoroughly enjoyed The Thursday Murder Club!

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    2. It’s nominated for an Edgar!

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  22. Still finding it hard to read. But finished A Fatal Lie--as outstanding as all the other titles in this series. Just started the Margaret Mizushima series--the characters are compelling and will keep me coming back for more--Timber Creek K-9 series, with Hanging Falls the first one.

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    1. FLORA: I LOVE the Timber Creek K-9 series. Mattie Cobb, Robo and vet Cole are great characters. Hanging Falls is book 6, the series starts with Killing Trail.

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    2. Grace: I don't know why I have it stuck in my brain that Hanging Falls is book 1--love Mattie and Robo and Cole and the setting!

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  23. Recently I have read Missing and Endangered by J.A. Jance. Joanna Brady stories are always good; Spoils of the Dead by Dana Stabenow; An Extravagant Death by Charles Finch; very old Dick Francis (Rat Race); and I have been rereading several of Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott books. I am currently reading The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. I enjoy stories that run on parallel tracks centuries apart.

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  24. Here is the link!!
    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/panel-discussion-mary-higgins-clark-award-nominees-2021-tickets-142284477703

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  25. Oh, I have to share this book with you. I rarely read two books at a time, but I currently am, as of last night. I was looking through my Kindle titles and came across You Cannot Mess This Up: A True Story That Never Happened by Amy Weinland Daughters. I'm including the description of it below. It is what I've always wanted to be able to do, go back and spend a day with my family when I was a kid.

    "It's 2014 and Amy Daughters is a forty-six-year old stay-at-home mom living in Dayton, Ohio. She returns to her hometown of Houston over the Thanksgiving holiday to discuss her parents’ estate―and finds herself hurled back in time. Suddenly, it’s 1978, and she is forced to spend thirty-six hours in her childhood home with her nuclear family, including her ten-year old self. Over the next day and a half she reconsiders every feeling she’s ever had, discusses current events with dead people, gets overserved at a party with her parents’ friends, and is treated to lunch at the Bonanza Sirloin Pit. Besides noticing that everyone is smoking cigarettes, she’s still jealous of her sister, and there is a serious lack of tampons in the house, Amy also begins to appreciate that memories are malleable, wholly dependent on who is doing the remembering. In viewing her parents as peers and her siblings as detached children, she redefines her difficult relationships with her family members and, ultimately, realizes that her life story matters and is profoundly significant―not so much to everyone else, perhaps, but certainly to her. Amy’s guide said her trip back in time wouldn’t change anything in the future, but by the time her thirty-six hours are up, she’s convinced that she’ll never be the same again."
    "

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