Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Barter by Siobhan Adcock

The Barter by Siobhan Adcock
308 pages, Hardcover
Published September 2014, Dutton Adult
Source: provided by publisher for BookSparks Fall Reading Challenge 2014, NetGalley
About the Book

The Barter is a ghost story and a love story, a riveting emotional tale that also explores motherhood and work and feminism. Set in Texas, in present day, and at the turn of the twentieth century, the novel follows two young mothers at the turning point of their lives.

Bridget has given up her career as an attorney to raise her daughter, joining a cadre of stay-at-home mothers seeking fulfillment in a quiet suburb. But for Bridget, some crucial part of the exchange is absent: Something she loves and needs. And now a terrifying presence has entered her home; only nobody but Bridget can feel it.

On a farm in 1902, a young city bride takes a farmer husband. The marriage bed will become both crucible and anvil as Rebecca first allows, then negates, the powerful erotic connection between them. She turns her back on John to give all her love to their child. Much will occur in this cold house, none of it good.

As Siobhan Adcock crosscuts these stories with mounting tension, each woman arrives at a terrible ordeal of her own making, tinged with love and fear and dread. What will they sacrifice to save their families—and themselves? Readers will slow down to enjoy the gorgeous language, then speed up to see what happens next in a plot that thrums with the weight of decision—and its explosive consequences. 

My Review

A ghost story sounded like a perfect read to start off October. However, if you are looking for a scary book, this isn't it. There is a ghost, but it's not so much a thriller with chills, it's more of a quiet psychological thriller.

This is a story of two women in different era's attempting to figure out their lives as new wives and mothers, Bridget in the present day and Rebecca in the early 1900's. There is so much loneliness and sadness, feelings of being abandoned and bitterness towards their respective husbands.

You have Bridget's weird experiences with the ghost, her strange socially-awkward interactions with her husband and friends. She is so isolated and alone with just her child-could she be imagining the ghost that wanders her house? Then there's Rebecca and her strange "love" story with the farm boy. I don't even know if you could call it a love story.

Adcock's writing is very quiet and sometimes lyrical. I enjoyed this haunting tale quite a bit. 

Praise for the Book

"Eerie and atmospheric, this psychological thriller will twist its way into readers' psyches." - Booklist

"Suspenseful debut." - Publishers Weekly

The Barter is a delightful and utterly unique portrait of parenthood across the ages. Siobhan Adcock manages to express what is inexpressible about motherhood and marriage, deftly capturing the banal and the divine, the give and the take. As funny, profound, otherworldly, and terrifying as love itself, this is a debut novel not to be missed.” –Amy Shearn, author of The Mermaid of Brooklynand How Far is the Ocean From Here 

“Absolutely outstanding. The Barter is a ghost story haunted by love, a love story haunted by ghosts, and a literary mystery propelled by the unsaid secrets of marriage and motherhood. In Adcock's world, you won't know whether it's fear, love, or outright beauty making your heart beat like a drum. You won't know, and you won't care at all. You'll just have to keep reading.”
–Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River and The Cradle
“Reading The Barter is like standing at the edge of an abyss: deep, dark, and terrifying, it is also a gripping and exhilarating story about fear, courage, and the demands and sacrifices of love. An enthralling page-turner of a novel that had me on the edge of my seat from the first page and continued to haunt me after the last.” –Catherine Chung, author of Forgotten Country 

“Siobhan Adcock takes a very contemporary question – can women ever really “have it all” or are trade-offs invariably exacted? – and examines it through the startling prism of a ghost story. Part comedy of manners, part historical fiction, and part genuinely creepy page-turner, The Barter casts a lively eye on the sacrifices, willing and involuntary, women make as they endeavor to weave together the heart’s various desires.” --Leah Hager Cohen, author of No Book But the World 

“Siobhan Adcock’s impressive debut is a spellbinding blend of historical fiction and ghost story, made all the more believable—and harrowing—by its realistic depiction of the tenuous balance between fulfillment and sacrifice within a marriage.” —Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival

Buy the book

·      Amazon Kindle:
·      Amazon Hardcover:

About the Author

SIOBHAN ADCOCK received her MFA in fiction from Cornell University, and her short fiction has appeared in several literary magazines. She has worked as a writer and editor for Epicurious,,, and The Knowm among other digital publishers. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

For more information about the book and author visit her on her WEBSITE, TWITTER and GOODREADS.

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Current Read and a Teaser: Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon

This month's book group read is Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue. I read Kavalier and Clay years ago and loved it, so I am very excited to read this one. We are meeting on November 5th so I really need to get reading on this one. 

Here's a tease for you and for me, as well.

" Titus Joyner lay on his back with a pillow mashed down over his face, held in place by the hook of an arm. That was how he slept: shielded." pg 85, paperback

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be ReadingAnyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Happy Reading!

What I'm Reading

On the nightstand: I am a couple pages in to Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon for book group. Don't have much more time to get this one read. Need to get off the phone and start reading!

On the eReader: I am more than half way done with The Barter by Siobhan Adcock. Review to come very soon. Look for it later this week.

On Audio: I have a couple more cd's before finishing World War Z by Max Brooks. 

What are you all reading this week? Or are most of you on a break after this weekend's Read a Thon? 
Happy Reading!

Friday, October 17, 2014

My new obsession...

Clothes, shoes and bags from Everlane.
Love these shoes! @everlane
My @everlane order arrived! Modern loafers and luxe wool crew neck sweater. Love!
Ready for our weekend in wine country. @everlane bags showed up just in time.

They are an online company, local and have great quality clothes. They are transparent about their costs, factories used and have great customer service. They look to their customers for information on how to make these even better, which I think is great. 

A couple weeks ago I got a chance to visit their offices in SF to try on some shirts and give some feedback. They also host Open Houses and Pop Up Shops on occasion. 

You should check them out!

Happy Shopping!

**I have shared my referral link, so any shopping you do will credit my account. You can get your own referral link to share as well.**

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Enchantress by Maggie Anton

Enchantress by Maggie Anton
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Plume Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 400
Series: Rav Hisda’s Daughter
Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Fantasy

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Source: Sent by publisher for review

About the Book

Fantastic tales of demons and the Evil Eye, magical incantations, and powerful attractions abound in Enchantress, a novel that weaves together Talmudic lore, ancient Jewish magic, and a timeless love story set in fourth-century Babylonia.

One of the most powerful practitioners of these mysterious arts is Rav Hisda’s daughter, whose innate awareness allows her to possess the skills men lack. With her husband, Rava–whose arcane knowledge of the secret Torah enables him to create a “man” out of earth and to resurrect another rabbi from death–the two brave an evil sorceress, Ashmedai the Demon King, and even the Angel of Death in their quest to safeguard their people, even while putting their romance at risk.

The author of the acclaimed Rashi’s Daughters series and the award-winning Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Apprentice has conjured literary magic in the land where “abracadabra” originated. Based on five years of research and populated with characters from the Talmud, Enchantress brings a pivotal era of Jewish and Christian history to life from the perspective of a courageous and passionate woman.

My Review

I have absolutely loved reading this book. It was totally unexpected considering my lack of knowledge of the time period and Jewish history. Rav Hisda's daughter is so interesting and such a strong character even in a very male dominated time period.  The book is filled with magic, demons and a golem. There are also some tales thrown in, mishnahs, pertaining to Jewish law. It is a great mix of fiction, Jewish history and mysticism.

This is the second book in the series, but I never felt lost despite not having read the first book. Information is doled out in increments throughout the book to explain things that occurred in the previous book. It is a long book, but I never felt that is was too long. I also spent a lot of time looking up yiddish terms and names I was not familiar with. This may not be for some but I enjoyed it. I felt like I learned something. I always like that. 

Praise for Apprentice (Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Book I)
“A lushly detailed look into a fascinatingly unknown time and culture—a tale of Talmud, sorcery, and a most engaging heroine!” —Diana Gabaldon, author of the bestselling Outlander series

Anton, the author of the acclaimed “Rashi’s Daughters” trilogy, has penned her best book to date. Using her extensive knowledge of the Talmud and other historical Jewish writings, she immersed herself in the tractates to uncover a marvelous heroine for this historical novel… Complex discussions of Jewish law and tradition as well as detailed description of the culture and customs of the times enhance truly wonderful storytelling. VERDICT This absorbing novel should be on everyone’s historical fiction reading list.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Fascinating reading await those who dive into the vividly depicted world of Babylonian Jewry … Anton succeeds brilliantly in drawing us into the formative period leading up to the Talmud … what we have is the work of a master craftswoman set upon repairing a major gap in Jewish literature —Philadelphia Jewish Voice

“Rav Hisda’s Daughter provides a wealth of historical detail about Jewish life in Babylon and Israel in the 3rd century CE. It depicts the daily life and coming of age of a prominent rabbi’s daughter rather than propelling its reader through a traditional arc of action with a crisis and resolution. Its interest lies in its portrayal of the sorcery, incantations, and women’s customs in this exotic, faraway period of time and place, sometimes against the backdrop of war.” —Historical Novel Society

Praise for the Rashi’s Daughters Trilogy
“Anton delivers a tour de force . . . [Readers] will fly through the pages and come away wishing for more.” –Library Journal (starred review)

“A compelling combination of drama, suspense, and romance.” –Lilith magazine

Buy the Book

About the Author
Maggie Anton was born Margaret Antonofsky in Los Angeles, California. Raised in a secular, socialist household, she reached adulthood with little knowledge of her Jewish religion. All that changed when David Parkhurst, who was to become her husband, entered her life, and they both discovered Judaism as adults. That was the start of a lifetime of Jewish education, synagogue involvement, and ritual observance. In 2006, Anton retired from being a clinical chemist in Kaiser Permanente’s Biochemical Genetics Laboratory to become a fulltime writer.

In the early 1990′s, Anton learned about a women’s Talmud class taught by Rachel Adler, now a professor at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. She became intrigued with the idea that Rashi, one of the greatest Jewish scholars ever, had no sons, only three daughters. Slowly but surely, she began to research the family and the time in which they lived. Much was written about Rashi, but almost nothing of the daughters, except their names and the names of their husbands. Legend has it that Rashi’s daughters were learned in a time when women were traditionally forbidden to study the sacred texts. These forgotten women seemed ripe for rediscovery, and the idea of a trilogy of historical novels about them was born.

After the success of “Rashi’s Daughters” Anton started researching the lives of women in 4th-century Babylonia, where the Talmud was being created. Surprised by the prevalence of sorcery among rabbinic families, she wrote “Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Bk 1 – Apprentice,” which was a 2012 National Jewish Book Award Fiction finalist and a Library Journal pick for Best Historical Fiction.

For more information please visit Maggie Anton’s website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Click on the banner for more tour stops.

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 13, 2014

It's Monday! What Are you Reading?

Thought I would start sharing what I am reading again. Haven't done it in awhile. Always great motivation to get things read so I can have new books to share the following week!

On my nightstand:
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

I have been reading this one for awhile. Can't seem to get through these last 100 pages or so. I hit a wall with it. Had hoped to have it finished before going to visit my mom so I could borrow her copy of the next book in the series. Didn't happen

On my eReader:
The Barter by Siobhan Adcock

This one is for review. I am participating in BookSpark's Fall Reading Challenge and this is my "assignment" for October. :) Not as scary as I usually like for this time of the year, but it does have a ghost.

On Audio:
World War Z by Max Brooks

This is being listened to whenever I drive somewhere sans the little girl. I am really enjoying it. Love the different characters read by different actors. Perfect book for this time of the month. Can't go wrong with zombies.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

BookSparks Speak Out: End School Violence

Today is SAVE (Stop America's Violence Everywhere) Day. 

All proceeds from Before the Storm purchases made on October 8th will go directly to KidsPeace.
They are "an organization dedicated to serving the behavioral and mental health needs of children, families and communities, especially following traumatic events."

Buy the novella and support KidsPeace HERE.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Current Read and a Teaser: The Barter by Siobhan Adcock

I am just starting The Barter by Siobhan Adcock for BookSparks Fall Reading Challenge.  Here is a little teaser from the first chapter...

"When I should have been thinking about weaning or baby swim classes, I was thinking about death. And that's why she's here. That's how she found me." loc 15 of 3583, eBook


What are you all reading this week?
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be ReadingAnyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Allen Wyler eBook Deal!

Allen Wyler's ebooks are currently available for $.99 during the month of October!
If you enjoy medical thrillers, you will enjoy these.

Dead End Deal
Dead Ringer
Dead Wrong
Deadly Errors

(Links will take you to my reviews)

Get yourself to Amazon and purchase one or three!
Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

I love this! I am so getting this book for the little girl. She was cracking up laughing along with these kids.

Happy Reading!