Friday, October 21, 2016

Dreamers Often Lie by Jacqueline West

Dreamers Often Lie by Jacqueline West

Dreamers Often Lie will knock your socks off with an unreliable narrator.  Jaye suffers a Traumatic Brain Injury and is seeing and talking to Shakespeare characters, namely Romeo and Hamlet and MacBeth is there too.. She is trying to convince everyone around her she is sane, including herself, as she gets ready to play a leading role in her high school play, A Midsummer's Nights Dream.

Shakespeare lovers will adore this book.

The story is full of action and twisted plots and creative characters.  There is anger and intrigue and love triangles. Dreamers Often Lie is a quote from Romeo and Juliet as well as this awesome, page-turning novel.  This is a smart book and Jacqueline West conquers serious issues and situations with ease.
I was spellbound until the very last page.

Beyond the Book:

Here is an excerpt from the book:

A review by the Minneapolis Star Tribune

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Twin Cities Book Festival

Twin Cities Book Festival

Saturday, Oct 15th was the annual Twin Cities Book Festival organized by Rain Taxi Review of Books. I went with a plan of action and my main goal was to meet and listen to A.S. King, who happens to be one of my favorite authors. Throughout the day I made a lot of author connections and added a bunch of titles to my TBR pile.

Here is an accounting of my day at the Twin Cities Book Fest.

10 am;  Arrival.  Filled out my contest form, got my schedule of events.

10:15 to 11:  Meet and mingle with Minnesota Authors.  I talked to Krista Tippett, Kelly Barnhill, Allen Eskins, Peter Geye, John Coy, Wing Young Huie and Su Smallen.  It was a busy and crowded space. It was nice to mingle and talk with these awesome Minnesota authors.

11 to 11:30:  Shop for books.  Went and bought books from several of the bookstores.  I bought 7 brand new graphic novels for 3-5 dollars each. A huge deal I couldn't pass up. Then I found 4 brand new children's books from 2-4 dollars each for my godson and nephews.  Then I bought two fiction books for my daughter and I to read. After I did this my bag was heavy so I had to walk a few blocks back to my car and drop them off.

Here is the list of titles.

Rooms by Lauren Oliver
13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

Children's Books:
Peck, Peck, Peck by Lucy Cousins
I Love Hockey board book
Good Dog Carl and the Baby Elephant by Alexandra Day
Old MacDonald had a Truck by Steve Goetz

Graphic novels and Manga:
The Inflatable Woman by Rachel Ball
Red. A Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Ghetto Brothers. Warrior to Peacemaker by Julian Voloj
Tonoharu. Part One by Lars Martinson
Time Killers. Short story collection by Kazue Kato
Gangsta by Kohske
Tokyo Ghost. The Atomic Garden by Rick Remender

11:45- 12:15:  Walked back to the festival and ran into my friend Pamela. She said I had to see the Midwestern Panel with Mary Mack, Stephanie Wilbur Ash and Geoff Herbach.  Each author read from their latest work. It was hilarious and the whole audience was laughing.

12:15:  I ran into my friend and fellow book blogger Linda White and her son.  Linda blogs at BookManiaLife.  We visited and then I was off to buy 3 new books and to get through all the displays on floor in an hour. This was super ambitious of me since there was over 100 exhibitors.

I bought a copy of The Association of Small Bombs by Karen Majajan, from Magers and Quinn and Then I bought a copy of Still Life with Tornados by A.S. King and Glory O'Brien's History of the Future from The Red Balloon bookstore.  Now I had to wait for their presentations and then I could get in line to meet them.

1:10-1:20:  I met Beth Dooley at the Milkweed Press booth and asked her to be my featured author for November.  I got a review copy of her book: In Winter's Garden.  Growing Roots and Breaking Bread in the Northern Heartland.

Then I ran into one of my favorite spoken word poets, Guante and he was there with his new book of poems, lyrics and essays and squee, I was super excited to meet him.  I am going to feature him on my blog in April, 2017.  His new book is called A Love Song, A Death Rattle, A Battle Cry.  You need to check this book out!!

At 1:30 I went to The Personal and Political author Panel.  This was a great panel, with National Book Award Finalist, Karan Majajan, and Lidija Dimkovska and Derek Palacio.  This panel was excellent. Each author read from their books and answered questions about the political nature of their books.  I was really impressed and learned a lot from Lidija Dimkovska who lives in Slovenia and is Macedonian. Her novel, A Spare Life chronicles conjoined twins who are separated as Yugoslavia goes through their bloody and difficult separation. I definitely want to read her book.  Derek and Karan were awesome too, talking about Cuba and India and the problems these countries are currently facing.

At 2:30 I got in line to meet and get Karan Mahajan to sign my book and to talk to Lidija and Derek.  I wanted a picture with all of them but the table didn't really make this possible so I left without a pic.

2:40:  I saw Mary Casanova at the University of Minnesota Press and talked to her about featuring her on my blog.  I have been wanting to read her books for a long time.  She gave me a review copy of her newest title, Ice Out. Looks super good.  Hoping to review the book in November/December.

2:50- I went in to the Teen area to wait for A.S. King and I pretty much thought it would be standing room only because the whole world should know how awesome her books are and want to meet her right?  Dang, I was wrong and this made me kinda sad but I took a front row seat next to a woman named Jolene Wilson whom I would later learn is a book blogger. She drove over 3 hours to get to the Twin Cities Book Festival and blogs at

3pm.  The Books for Thought Author Panel
This panel was lead by Shannon Gibney, author of the MN Book Award for her novel, See No Color.  Lara Avery (The Memory Book), Kathleen Glasgow (Girl in Pieces) and A.S. King (Still Life with Tornado) were all present on the panel.  I think this was the best author panel I have ever seen.  All of these woman authors are amazing and I wish it would have been standing room only because many of the points they made about young women and the problems that we are facing as a society were profound.  They discussed the lack of diversity in publishing, in author panels, the anxiety and sexism girls face on a daily basis, and so much more.  I decided I need to read all of their books.  I'm planning to feature Shannon Gibney on my blog in May and Kathleen'Glasgow's Girl in Pieces in June.  You all need to read a least one of the authors on this panel.  I'm serious.

4 pm:  I got my picture taken with A.S. King and all my books signed. Talked to all the authors and lined them up to be featured on my blog.

4:15pm  Decided it was time to go home. I had a horrible headache and was exhausted and hungry and my book bag was heavy with awesome books.  Lucky for me I ran into my friend Pamela Klinger-Horn who works the Festival and is a prolific reader.  She gave me a bag of books to take home for me or my high school students to read.  There were 5 books in the bag.

The Memory Book by Lara Avery  (Yes!)
The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens (another Yes!)
Children of the World by Alexander Weinstein.  (signed copy of short stories)
An ARC of History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
Luck, Love & Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert

Oh my gosh, I had a great, wonderful, busy day.  Thank you Rain Taxi.
Can't wait for next year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
A short review.

A really great story about five friends living in a small Wisconsin town named Little Wing.  Told from five different points of view, one of them grows up to become a world famous rock star.  Shotgun Lovesongs is a homage to the midwestern lifestyle, a love letter to the land and small towns.  It is memorable, moving and packed with memories and music.  Shotgun Lovesongs is the soundtrack to the lives of the people who populate this beautiful story.

This book has made me feel really nostalgic for the days when I ran free with my friends and for all the times I spent on my grandparents farm in a small Wisconsin town called Shell Lake.  I wonder what the soundtrack of my life would sound like.  Hmmm.  I might have to create a playlist.

You can find Nickolas Butler on his website:

Go Beyond the book with the links below.

You need to watch this 3 min video done by New York Times on Butler and his book, Shotgun Lovesongs.  Its excellent.

Here is a book review done by NY Times:

Here is a review from one of my favorite authors, Peter Geye, printed in the Star Tribune.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Poem in my Post: The Camperdown Elm by Marianne Moore

Poem in my Post
The Camperdown Elm by Marianne Moore.

I chose this poem today because I am in love with trees. I live in the woods on a lot in St. Paul. It is rare to find an urban area where there are a lot of trees anymore.  It seems one is lucky if they have only one tree in their yard. So if trees are currency, then I am rich with trees, too many to count.  I am surrounded by Pine, Elm, Cottonwood, Crabapple, Sugar Maple and Oak.  I do not have an Camperdown Elm in the woods here but I am drawn to this poem and poet because she saved a Camperdown Elm tree with her poem that was in danger of dying of neglect in Brooklyn's Prospect Park.  She wrote her ode and it mobilized a community to care for trees in the park.
This poem was written in 1967.

The Camperdown Elm by Marianne Moore

I think, in connection with this weeping elm,
of “Kindred Spirits” at the edge of a rockledge
overlooking a stream:
Thanatopsis-invoking tree-loving Bryant
conversing with Thomas Cole
in Asher Durand’s painting of them
under the filigree of an elm overhead.
No doubt they had seen other trees—lindens,
maples and sycamores, oaks and the Paris
street-tree, the horse-chestnut; but imagine
their rapture, had they come on the Camperdown elm’s
massiveness and “the intricate pattern of its branches,”
arching high, curving low, in its mist of fine twigs.
The Bartlett tree-cavity specialist saw it
and thrust his arm the whole length of the hollowness
of its torso and there were six small cavities also.
Props are needed and tree-food. It is still leafing;
still there. Mortal though. We must save it. It is
our crowning curio.
— Marianne Moore

Here is an article from Brain Pickings about how this poem by Marianne Moore saved one of the world's rarest trees.  You just need to read it.  No doubt about it.

Read more of her poetry here at

Thursday, October 13, 2016

October Author in the Spotlight

October Author in the Spotlight

Happy October!
Things are cooling down in Minnesota, I think we might get frost tonight so I have to cover my flowers.  I'm so sad to see the sun go south for the winter.  I'm already lamenting the fact that I won't be able to sit outside on my porch swing with my beloved dog and read.

Looking forward to the Twin Cities Book Festival on Saturday and I just returned from a reading retreat in the north woods run by two amazing ladies who started the Women's Press.

My life has been pretty busy lately and I have been re-thinking how to continue to write this book blog so stay tuned for some changes here. One thing I know for sure, I want to keep featuring amazing Minnesota authors, like David Oppegaard.  I just discovered David's novels last year, when one of my book buddies handed me his new Young Adult book. and I'm so glad she did.

Here are some of many books he has written and their synopsis from Goodreads:A firebug has woken inside my heart.

The Firebug of Balrog County

Dark times have fallen on remote Balrog County, and Mack Druneswald, a high school senior with a love of clandestine arson, is doing his best to deal. While his family is haunted by his mother’s recent death, Mack spends his nights roaming the countryside, looking for something new to burn. When he encounters Katrina, a college girl with her own baggage, Mack sets out on a path of pyromania the likes of which sleepy Balrog County has never seen before.

A darkly comic tour-de-force, The Firebug of Balrog County is about legend, small towns, and the fire that binds.

The Suicide Collectors:

The Despair has plagued the earth for five years. Most of the world’s population has inexplicably died by its own hand, and the few survivors struggle to remain alive. A mysterious, shadowy group called the Collectors has emerged, inevitably appearing to remove the bodies of the dead. But in the crumbling state of Florida, a man named Norman takes an unprecedented stand against the Collectors, propelling him on a journey across North America. It’s rumored a scientist in Seattle is working on a cure for the Despair, but in a world ruled by death, it won’t be easy to get there.

Wormwood, Nevada

Tyler and Anna Mayfield have just relocated from Nebraska to the sun scorched desert town of Wormwood, Nevada. They find themselves in a strange new landscape populated with old school cowboys, alien cultists, meth dealers, and doomsday prophets. Loneliness and desperation pervade Wormwood, and when a meteorite lands in the center of town, its fragile existence begins to unravel as many believe the end of the world is near, while others simply seek a reason to believe in anything at all.

The Ragged Mountains

The Hollow is a peaceful village, a farming backwater among the free cities of the Western Lands, but when a local girl named Penelope Bell is kidnapped from her home in the middle of the night, that peace is shattered.

Unwilling to accept the loss of Penelope, a young striker named Gabriel Rain joins Penelope’s brother and sister on a quest to bring her home. Their journey takes them across the dangerous Grasslands and as far as the legendary Ragged Mountains themselves, where they find themselves caught between two sides of a bloody war. Along the way, they face dark wizards, ancient gods, and discover that the Ragged Mountains always take as much as they yield.

The third novel by Bram Stoker nominated David Oppegaard (author of The Suicide Collectors (St. Martin's Press) and Wormwood, Nevada (St. Martin's Press) The Ragged Mountains is a dark YA fantasy in the tradition of The Hunger Games, The Warded Man, the Earthsea Trilogy, and The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.

This month you can expect a book review, an author interview, a giveaway and hopefully a guest post.  You can find David on his blog at  

Happy Reading and Happy Fall.

Monday, September 26, 2016


Coloring Designs to Nourish You with Love, Joy, Faith, Peace and More.

I love to color. Don't you? I only wish I had more time in my busy day to sit down and color.

Coloring is therapeutic and an enjoyable way to spend time listening to an audio book and/or unwinding with your children or grandchildren after a stressful day of work.  I love to color outside for about 10 minutes a day right befoer the sun sets for the day.

Inkspirations, fruit of the spirit coloring book is lovely.  The illustrations are two page spreads and include Bible verses from the New Testament and Old Testament on every page.

It is a peaceful setting to spend with your colored pencils.  I like to color with markers and they bleed to the other side.  This is not an option with this coloring book because the drawings are on both sides of the page.  Use colored pencils or pens not markers within this coloring book.

What I really like about this coloring book is that you can finish a page coloring in about an hour. There is a lot of beautiful detail with Inkspiration but it is not overwhelming and you can feel like an accomplished artist and make beautiful colored pictures in no time at all.

Happy Coloring to you all.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jacqueline West Author Interview

Jacqueline West Author Interview

Jacqueline West was the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob for the month of August.  I got a chance to interview Jacqueline and ask her about her new teen novel, Dreamers Often Lie and her reading and writing habits.  Read on to find out what Shakespeare play is her favorite and so much more.

Hi Jacqueline,

1.      Tell us a little bit about yourself.

            I’m Jacqueline West, and I live with my family in Red Wing, MN. I write middle grade and YA fiction, as well as short stories and poetry for adults. I’m a lazy gardener, a decent musician, and a mean cookie-froster.

2.      What is the backstory behind Dreamers Often Lie?

            Back in 2007, I was teaching high school English in the twelfth smallest school district in Wisconsin. This meant that I was the entire English department…and speech department…and drama department. Some days, I would lead a Romeo and Juliet unit with the freshmen, discuss Hamlet with the seniors, and then direct school play rehearsal. I’d go home at the end of each day with my head full of Shakespeare and drama and YA literature—and, of course, with my students and their lives. These things all tangled together, and I started to write the story that eventually became Dreamers Often Lie.

3.      Usually an author put some of her own life experiences in their book.  Did you do that?  Do you have anything in common with your characters?

            Oh, yeah. Like Jaye, my protagonist, I was a high school theatre kid. During college, I paid my bills by acting in shows at the local dinner theatre. Today, I do community theatre when I can; I love getting the chance to step inside of other people and wear their clothes and live their lives for a little while. (It’s a bit like being a writer, actually!)
            Beyond that, though, I don’t share much with any of the characters from Dreamers Often Lie. Unlike Jaye, I’ve never had a serious head injury. I haven’t lost a member of my immediate family. I’ve never had William Shakespeare show up in my bedroom. Jaye’s life is a lot more complicated than mine.

4.      Can you tell us about your previous books?

            My middle grade fantasy/mystery series is called The Books of Elsewhere. Volume One, The Shadows, was released in 2010, and the fifth and final volume came out in 2014. The series made the NYT Bestsellers list and has been published in eleven other countries so far, which still feels unreal to me.
            The story revolves around an eleven-year-old girl named Olive, whose brilliant mathematician parents have just bought an old stone house with a mysterious past. Because Olive is very different from her parents, she notices things about the house that they don’t notice…like the oddness of the paintings that have been left hanging on the walls. And when Olive finds an old pair of spectacles hidden in an upstairs drawer and puts them on, she discovers that all the paintings in the house can come to life. She can even climb inside of them, and talk to the people within them, and explore these eerie painted worlds—but it turns out that some of the painted people she meets are manipulating her for some very dangerous ends.

5.      Do you like to read?  What are some of your favorite books and authors?

            I’m an obsessive, scattered reader. I’m always reading at least four books at once, because I keep one in my purse, one in the kitchen, one in the bathroom, one on the bedside table, one in the car…
            I try to avoid reading anything too similar to my current works-in-progress, so these days I read a lot of memoir and contemporary or classic adult fiction. Some of my favorite authors are Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link, Annie Dillard, Michael Chabon, Louise Erdrich, Haven Kimmel, Roald Dahl, Kurt Vonnegut, Sylvia Plath, Bill Watterson, Poe, Bradbury, the Brontes, Dickens, and Shakespeare. See? Scattered.
            I have a hard time naming any favorite books because I love so MANY, but if I could only bring a teeny tiny library to a desert island, it would definitely include Jane Eyre, Gaiman’s American Gods, Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, and the collected works of Shakespeare. And some Calvin and Hobbes.

6.      What is your favorite Shakespeare play and why?

            Hamlet. Hands down. It’s endlessly fascinating. It’s so gorgeously crafted (just thinking of some of its best lines makes my heart beat faster) and the characters and their motivations are so rich with possibilities. And then there’s Hamlet himself. He’s so layered, and each of those layers can be interpreted in different ways. Is he sane? Or does he just believe that he’s sane, Catch-22 style? When is he being honest, and when is he just putting on a new ‘disposition’ in order to manipulate others? Is he even lying to himself, and thus to the audience? The reasons I love that play are some of the same reasons I wanted to write a story like Dreamers Often Lie, where the protagonist is a complicated lens, and truth and reality are slippery things.

7.      Where do you find your inspiration?

I’m going to give the flakey cop-out answer and say “everywhere,” because it’s true. Memories, daydreams, artwork, other people’s stories, travel, things I see out the car window… They’re all ingredients that I can put in my mental pantry.
8.      How do you carve time out of your busy day to write?  Do you write full-time or do you also have a “day” job?

            Writing has been my full-time job since 2010. As an author, I do a lot of school visits and writing workshops, both in MN/WI and around the country. The publication schedule of The Books of Elsewhere kept me pretty busy from 2010 – 2014, and in 2015, I had a baby, so I’m pretty busy these days too. I’m lucky enough to have my recently-retired, baby-adoring parents nearby, so now I have childcare two days a week, and on the other days, I have two blessed hours of naptime. I’m sure I’m less productive than I used to be, but if there’s anything that can help you kick the procrastinating habit, it’s a baby. Now I work like there’s a bomb about to go off.

9.      Name one book that you think is a must read for everyone and tell us why?

            Just ONE? Sheesh.
            This one’s barely even a book, although it was published as one, in one of those miniature, graduation-gift-style volumes: This Is Water, by David Foster Wallace. It will make your heart bigger.
10.  Tell us in one sentence why we should read Dreamers Often Lie.
            If you like your novels twisty and odd and romantic, laced with Shakespearean characters and dark humor, Dreamers Often Lie is for you.

Thanks Jacqueline!!!
You can find Jacqueline on her website at:

Monday, September 5, 2016

Announcing September Author in the Spotlight!

Announcing September Author in the Spotlight!

Happy Labor Day!  Hello to Fall and school days and goodbye to the lazy days of summer.  I'll miss you summer.  I read 10 books over the summer, the biggest one being Don Quixote which I started on the first of June and finished Aug 31st.  My other favorite of the summer was the Neither Wolf nor Dog series by Kent Nerburn.

My kids start school tomorrow and are in 10th and 12th grade this year.  I think we are ready, with new supplies and clothes and hopeful attitudes.  I started teaching last week and have been back to crazy busy so my reading and writing has sadly slowed down.  I submitted my poems to four literary mags this month. I'm trying harder to get to my poems published.

Let me introduce you to the September Minnesota Author in the Spotlight.  Her name is Hope Jahren and she is a scientist who teaches and lives in Hawii right now but she grew up in Minnesota.  I can't wait to read her memoir called Lab Girl. So excited to feature her on my book blog.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:  Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more.

Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.

Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home.

This month there will be a giveaway and a book review.  Unfortunately, Hope is really busy this month and cannot do an interview or a guest post.  You can visit Hope on her blog

Happy Reading Everyone!!

Friday, August 19, 2016

WINTERING Giveaway Winner.

WINTERING by Peter Geye Giveaway Winner.

Hello everyone,

Peter Geye was the June/July Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob and he, along with his publisher is giving away one copy of his awesome novel, WINTERING to a Booksnob follower.  And the winner is....

Congratulations goes out to
Carl S from Arizona.

Enjoy your new book Carl.

I hope you all get a chance to read this book.  Here is an excerpt from my book review of Wintering.

Geye is an excellent storyteller and he has created a cast of characters that will live in your heart and stay with you for a long time.  Wintering is the story of a family, full of secrets, denial, love, hatred, mischief.  Wintering is a story of surviving. Surviving, the extremes of life in a landscape that is covered in snow for 9 months of the year and the trails and tribulations of life.
Love it!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dreamers Often Lie Giveaway

Dreamers Often Lie by Jacqueline West Giveaway

Shakespeare lovers pay attention.  Jacqueline West is the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight for the month of August here on Booksnob and she is graciously giving away one Signed, Hardcover copy of her new book, Dreamers Often Lie to a reader from the U.S. or Canada.  Oh my gosh, you are going to love this book.

Here is a synopsis of the book from Goodreads:

Jaye wakes up from a skiing accident with a fractured skull, a blinding headache, and her grip on reality sliding into delusion. Determined to get back to her starring role in the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Jaye lies to her sister, her mom, her doctors. She's fine, she says. She's fine. If anyone knew the truth - that hallucinations of Shakespeare and his characters have followed her from her hospital bed to the high school halls - it would all be over. She’s almost managing to pull off the act when Romeo shows up in her anatomy class. And it turns out that he's 100% real. Suddenly Jaye has to choose between lying to everyone else and lying to herself.

Troubled by the magnetic new kid, a long-lost friend turned recent love interest, and the darkest parts of her family's past, Jaye’s life tangles with Shakespeare's most famous plays until she can't tell where truth ends and pretending begins. Soon, secret meetings and dizzying first kisses give way to more dangerous things. How much is real, how much is in Jaye's head, and how much does it matter as she flies toward a fate over which she seems to have no control?

Giveaway rules:
Fill out the form
Must be from U.S./Canada resident
Follower of BookSnob
Contest ends:  September 11th at midnight
Good Luck!!

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