Saturday, October 7, 2017

Weekend Shopping: Underappreciated Books (part one)

I get asked a lot about books I'd recommend, or maybe what some of my favorites are, and I have a lengthy list. A lot of them aren't super popular, or maybe not really head of, and I think that's a damn shame. So periodically I want to feature some books that just don't get the love I think they deserve.

It's 1960 in the Panhandle town of Charnelle, Texas -- a year and a half since sixteen-year-old Laura Tate's mother boarded a bus and mysteriously disappeared. Assuming responsibility for the Tate household, Laura cares for her father and three brothers and outwardly maintains a sense of calm. But her balance is upset and the repercussions of her family's struggles are revealed when a chance encounter with a married man leads Laura into a complicated relationship for which she is unprepared.

As Kennedy battles Nixon for the White House, Laura must navigate complex emotional terrain and choose whether she, too, will flee Charnelle. Dramatizing the tension between desire and familial responsibility, The Girl from Charnelle delivers a heartfelt portrait of a young woman's reckoning with the paradoxes of love. Eloquent, tender, and heart-wrenching, K. L. Cook's unforgettable debut novel marks the arrival of a significant new voice in American fiction.

I read this book... almost ten years ago, I think? It is STILL with me. I think I mailed my copy to my cousin and I wish I hadn't because now I have to buy another copy. This isn't one I would have picked up at a bookstore but it was so great. Laura's character just pulled at you and when I found out this was a debut? Blown away.
When Melody Grace McCartney was six years old, she and her parents witnessed an act of violence so brutal that it changed their lives forever. The federal government lured them into the Witness Protection Program with the promise of safety, and they went gratefully. But the program took Melody's name, her home, her innocence, and, ultimately, her family. She's been May Adams, Karen Smith, Anne Johnson, and countless others--everyone but the one person she longs to be: herself. So when the feds spirit her off to begin yet another new life in another town, she's stunned when a man confronts her and calls her by her real name. Jonathan Bovaro, the mafioso sent to hunt her down, knows her, the real her, and it's a dangerous thrill that Melody can't resist. He's insistent that she's just a pawn in the government's war against the Bovaro family. But can she trust her life and her identity to this vicious stranger whose acts of violence are legendary?
I picked this book up at the library simply because the cover looked interesting. The story itself is a bit far fetched, but the larger story of a young girl essentially being hunted by the mob because she something she shouldn't have, and what that means for her entire life, is thought provoking. Then you bring in the mobster sent to hunt her down and how that plays out? I really enjoyed it. A lot.

Meet June Parker. She works for L.A. Rideshare, adores her rent-stabilized apartment in Santa Monica, and struggles with losing a few pesky pounds.

But June’s life is about to change.

After a dark turn of events involving Weight Watchers, a chili recipe, and a car accident in which her passenger, Marissa, dies, June finds herself in possession of a list Marissa has written, “20 Things to Do By My 25th Birthday.” Even though they barely knew eachother, June is compelled by both guilt and a desire to set things right and finish the list for Marissa.

The tasks before her range from inspiring (Run a 5K), to daring (Go braless), to near-impossible (Change someone’s life), and as June races to achieve each goal before the deadline, she learns more about her own life than she ever bargained for. 

Again, I picked this one at the library because I loved the cover. I also have to tell you that this book was the book that made me create, and do, my 30 before 30 list. The story is about June, who is involved in a life changing car accident, and subsequently finds her passenger's bucket list. At a crossroads in her own life, she takes this as a sign that maybe she needs to go outside of her comfort zone so she decides SHE will finish the list in Marissa's memory. I loved this book and it really did inspire me to start my own list, which ended up being the best years of my life, if we're being honest. So I guess that's why this book holds a special place in my heart.

Below you'll find the purchase links for all of these and truly, if you want to read something not everyone is talking about, you will enjoy these. I'll feature three more next Saturday and hopefully by the time I'm done with my list, you'll be overloaded with Christmas gift ideas. 

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