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review 2017-08-30 02:32
Book 48/100: Goodnight, South Dakota by Adam Gamble
Good Night South Dakota - Adam Gamble,Mark Jasper,Ruth Palmer

I am of course biased, but I found this to be a fun read (although when I read it aloud to my son, my husband said it sounded like I was reading him a tourist brochure. ;)). There is no plot (a common shortcoming in board books, I am finding!) but it's fun to see the various landmarks of your state in illustrated form. The illustrations are not gorgeous, but they do the various sites justice for the most part.

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text 2017-07-31 23:57
How Early Motherhood Has Changed My Reading Life
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding - La Leche League International,Gwen Gotsch
The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year - Louise Erdrich
How to Raise a Family on Less Than Two Incomes: The Complete Guide to Managing Your Money Better So You Can Spend More Time with Your Kids - Denise Topolnicki
Gregor the Overlander - Suzanne Collins
Best Lunch Box Ever: Ideas and Recipes for School Lunches Kids Will Love - Katie Sullivan Morford
Modern Romance - Aziz Ansari,Eric Klinenberg
Good Night South Dakota - Adam Gamble,Mark Jasper,Ruth Palmer

Ten days ago, I became a mother when my son was lifted out of my abdomen behind a curtain, his cries filling the room and my heart welling up with relief. It was a long labor -- 30 hours by the time he arrived -- fraught with run-of-the-mill complications -- meconium in the amniotic fluid, a labor that failed to progress leading to a multitude of interventions I hadn't really wanted (but that I was grateful for in the end), and a baby that ultimately just wasn't in the right position or of the right size to pass through the birth canal, despite the best efforts of my husband, myself, my doula and my baby to make it happen.


This is my first time writing anything at all since that day, although there has been so much to say -- more to say than I can wrap my head around, and so little time in which to say it. As I write this, my son hangs off of me in a sling, sleeping in a diaper with his little chest puffing up and down. This is my first proof that I can find a way to make writing and motherhood compatible -- I failed fairly miserably at writing throughout my pregnancy, when the best I could do was book reviews and journal entries a few times a week after I soldiered through a NaNoWriMo novel while feeling like I was going to puke at any and every moment in the first trimester.


When my husband and I had our final meeting with our doula before labor, she reminded us that at the end of pregnancy and during early parenthood, we would have to get used to doing things on a "small" scale. Smaller meals to ward off heartburn. Small naps when the discomforts of late pregnancy made it hard to sleep through the night, and when a newborn's nursing schedule caused even more sleep disruption. Small breaks to connect with my husband, relax, watch a TV show or movie, play a game. I've noticed that my reading life has also become "smaller," although these snatches of pages that I find time for here and there somehow seem more nourishing than they ever have before.


Nursing and a reluctance to wake a baby who has fallen asleep on my body often confines me to the same location for hours at a time. This means I read what is within reach, and my inability to be monogamous with books has reached a whole new level.


At the rocking chair where I nurse my son, I have a copy of "The Blue Jay's Dance" by Louis Erdrich that I read a page or two from when I can't bear to look at my phone screen for another moment. My MP3 player is also within reach of that chair, so I listen to "Gregor the Overlander" for my book club, although I'm skeptical about whether I will finish it on time for our meeting on Thursday. Also, I listened to so much of the beginning section while sleep deprived in those first few days that I am playing catch up on who some of the major characters are. I always feel especially incompetent as a reader when I have trouble following a middle-grade novel -- and no, this is not the first time that it's happened, although I arguably have the best excuse now that I've ever had.


In bed, I pull "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" down from the parenting reference bookshelf behind the bed and read it during those long late-night feedings.


In the basement, where I used to do the majority of my "pleasure reading," I read "How to Raise a Family on Less Than Two Incomes" while I wait for my husband to be ready to watch TV or play a game together. My time in the basement is limited -- because of the C-section, I can only do one "stair trip" a day, and I stay down there only as long as my bladder holds out. Then the books and TV set and all the baby clothes and baby supplies on that floor are again out of my reach for the rest of the day.


I page through cookbooks at coffee shops while I wait for my husband to finish a political meeting. I listen to Aziz Ansari's "Modern Romance" on the car's CD system as I nurse my baby between any errands that take us away from home for more than two hours. I wonder whether my son recognizes Ansari's voice from the time I spent listening while he was still inside the womb.


My progress through these books is very, very slow. When my son is awake and alert on my lap, I put them all aside so I can read to him from a couple board books that are also beside the rocking chair. There is a very good chance I will not meet my goal of reading 100 books this year, but I will continue to fill my eyes with words at any chance I get -- and perhaps that more than anything keeps me feeling connected to the person I have always been as I make sense of the person I have been in the process of becoming ever since I saw that plus sign on a pregnancy test at the beginning of November.

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review 2016-11-21 00:00
Cora: Bride of South Dakota
Cora: Bride of South Dakota - Susan Hors... Cora: Bride of South Dakota - Susan Horsnell This series was my first experience with multiple authors working together to write a series on a large scale. I enjoyed every book in the series and found several new authors that I hadn't read before.
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review 2015-11-21 00:00
Cora: Bride of South Dakota
Cora: Bride of South Dakota - Susan Hors... Cora: Bride of South Dakota - Susan Horsnell I had the pleasure of receiving this ARC for review. Thank you Susan Horsnell for bringing me back to these wonderful sweet romances that I used to read before other genres took over.
This story is part of a collaboration between 45 authors to write 50 stories in this Mail Order bride collection across all states of the USA.
Cora is an 18yr old girl promised by her brutal father to an older man. She escapes taking the desperate step to become a mail order bride across the country. I had to google to see where South Dakota was, my first impression was it must be cold and can't imagine it in those primitive times.
I read most of this in one sitting, it certainly was hard to put down. I cried in the middle, the emotions of Cora pulled me in. The author has obviously done her research capturing the time, place and snippets of history in the country and that region at the time.
This was no easy sailing with a young girl on the run, there were twists and turns and just when I thought it was smooth, something major happened (no spoils, read it for yourself).
There is a beautiful HEA and I imagine their life was wonderful into old age. But I'm secretly hoping for a sequel. I highly recommend you buying this story.
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review 2014-07-21 19:25
Lakota Dreaming
Lakota Dreaming - Constance Gillam

This book was a very nice surprise.  It was well written, had engaging characters and a romance that felt naturally occurring.  it also had a great sense of place and atmosphere.


Zora is a NYC editor at a big fashion magazine who is on an enforced  "break" from her job because she has been acting erratically.  Turns out, Zora is suffering from rather vivid dreams involving an ancestor, a former slave named Julia who lived among and married into the Lakota Sioux 150 years ago.  At the behest of her therapist, Zora travels to South Dakota to the Oglala nation to see if she can find out any information with the hopes of stopping the dreams.


There Zora meets John Iron Hawk the Chief of Police on the Reservation.  He is immediately suspicious of her and her motives having seen too many times a slick rich looking people like her come to the People to do silly articles.  But Zora earns an ally in an elder who feels something in her story and is determined to help her seek the truth.


This is a romance, but it is more appropriately a romantic suspense because there is a real mystery surrounding the fate of Julia and Zora is placed in jeopardy as she unearths those secrets.  Also present is a light dose of the mystical woo-woo.


While this story has some of the rather recognizable romance elements (Zora and John's animosity hides attraction) and romantic suspense elements (the bad guy manages to orchestrate things just so in order to silence Zora) the thing that I liked best were the pieces that were not necessarily plot related.


There was a nice bit of setting in that the book takes place on a Reservation that that is struggling with poverty and services not being properly funded  despite being the site of a thriving Casino that is raking in millions weekly.  The frustration of the people is shown in little and big ways.  And the results of being at the mercy of leaders who aren't looking out for their best interest is also shown in little and big ways.   In the midst of this comes Zora with her poking about and raising hackles.


The biggest con for me is the suspense element of the romantic suspense.  I don't think the author connected the dots in a believable way.  I thought the villain was too immediately concerned with Zora.  Her excuse of wanting to track down info about an ancestor from 150 years ago should not have caused the consternation it did as early as it did.  We later find out why her poking about was of concern and how a 150 y.o mystery could be dangerous to someone in the present time, but I don't think the road to that realization was as carefully plotted as it could have been.


Overall though this was a good story that had nicely crafted characters, an evocative mood and a believable romance.

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