Monday, May 25, 2020

Book Review: Storms of Malhado

STORMS OF MALHADO by
MARIA ELENA SANDOVICI
Genre: Historical Fiction / Ghosts Publisher: Independently Published Date of Publication: March 26, 2020
Number of Pages: 252
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Galveston Island, Texas, September 2008 Katie doesn’t believe in ghosts. And she certainly doesn’t believe the rumors that her family’s home is haunted, despite its tragic history: two young women who lived there in different eras died in hurricanesone during Hurricane Carla in 1961, one during the Great Storm of 1900, the greatest natural disaster to befall the United States. But that was the past, a fact Katie reminds herself of when she returns to Galveston to await Hurricane Ike with her parents and boyfriend in her family’s Broadway mansion, hoping to rekindle her flailing relationship. While Katie is not afraid of the ghost stories she’s heard, she is afraid of the monster storm approaching. As even die-hard Islanders evacuate, her fears grow—fear of the looming hurricane, fear that she’s talentless as a painter, fear that her relationship with her boyfriend is already over. As Katie struggles against her fears, the past whispers to her of the women who died there and the haunting similarities they share with Katie’s own life. 
Through three different timelines, Storms of Malhado weaves a story of Galveston’s past, underscoring its danger and isolation, as well as its remarkable resilience, and its capacity for both nostalgia and reinvention. Full of contradictions, at once insular and open to the world, Galveston Island is as much a character of the novel as Katie, Suzanne, Betty, their lovers, and their confidantes.




PRAISE FOR STORMS OF MALHADO:

“Taking place entirely on a beautifully moody Galveston Island, Ms. Sandovici weaves three simultaneous stories with ease. With a timeless tale, ethereal language, and complicated characters, readers will be entranced by this modern ghost story. How many times can the past repeat itself? How do we recognize people through generations? The author tackles this topic amid a backdrop of violent nature and intangible dreamscapes."  —Courtney Brandt, author of The Queen of England: Coronation, Grand Tour, Ascension ”Three women, three great storms, and one house, haunted by forbidden love and frustrated ambition. Get ready to be swept away by Sandovici’s foray into Galveston Island’s tempestuous history in this tale of lives intertwined across time.” —Donna Dechen Birdwell, author of Not Knowing
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Amazon 
 




First off, I have not ventured to Galveston, Texas in a hot minute. I have been wanting to go, I just haven't gotten around to it and it doesn't look like I'm going to get there any time in the immediate future. Luckily, I read a beautiful book that takes place in Galveston so that I can travel there in my imagination.

Not only did I travel to Galveston, but I traveled through 3 different timelines. The book dealt with 3 sets of characters from 3 sets of timeline whose red thread connects them at the end of the book through the events of 3 different hurricanes, The Great Storm (1900), Hurrican Carla (1961), and Hurricane Ike (2008). The author does a fabulous job of traveling back and forth between the different times without having the reader get too confused or sounding choppy. All characters had their own personality in each timeline, even if they were all supposed to be the same characters. Of course, they did have some of the same characteristics, they were still their own person and that made me happy to read because sometimes I wonder if when I die, will I come back in a different timeline until the world ends? 

"She was the kind of woman who cried over the gardener, smoked in the attic, contemplated drowning herself in the bathtub, and neglected calling her mother." 

The imagery in this book is also something to rave about. I could distinctly create each decade's surroundings, how everyone looked, what everyone wore and what the house of Malhado looked like as time passed on. The author does a great job at painting the picture for you, much like our main character likes to paint and she does it well. Made me want to really visit Galveston.

There was nothing really wrong with this book, the only thing for me was the ending. I thought that while I understood the ending and why everything happened, I thought it was a little corny, but that's just me.

Despite my opinion about the ending, it was still a great and interesting book that you will not be able to put down once you start. I give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was not what I had thought it was going to be when I first read the synopsis. I thought it was going to be more ghosty it wasn't but it turned out to be even better than a ghost story. Defintiley recommend putting this on your list of books to read. Until next time, Happy Reading!





Maria Elena Sandovici is a full-time writer, artist, and gallery owner living in Houston, Texas. After obtaining a Ph.D. in political science from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 2005, her curiosity led her to Texas, where she taught at Lamar University for fourteen years. She felt attracted to Galveston Island from her first visit and lived there part-time for three years before her artistic career took her to Houston. 
Sandovici is a 2008 graduate of John Ross Palmer's Escapist Mentorship Program, a program that teaches artists business skills. She resigned from her tenured academic position in December 2018 and opened her own private gallery space. Her previous works of fiction are Dogs with Bagels, Stray Dogs and Lonely Beaches, Lost Path to Solitude, The Adventures of Miss Vulpe, and Lone Wolf. She is also the author of Stop and Smell the Garbage, a volume of poetry in the voice of her dog, Holly Golightly. You can follow her daily adventures on her blog HaveWatercolorsWillTravel.blog.

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ONE WINNER receives a signed copy of Storms of Malhado
MAY 21-31, 2020
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY.  Or, visit the blogs directly:

5/21/20
Notable Quotable
5/21/20
Review
5/22/20
Author Video
5/22/20
Review
5/23/20
Playlist
5/24/20
Excerpt
5/25/20
Character Interview
5/25/20
Review
5/26/20
Review
5/27/20
Excerpt
5/28/20
Guest Post
5/28/20
Review
5/29/20
Scrapbook
5/30/20
Review
5/30/20
Review
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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Rainy Book Blitz: Thank You, Garden


THANK YOU, GARDEN
By LIZ GARTON SCANLON
Illustrated by Simone Shin
Children's Picture Book / Poetry / Environment / Ages 3-7 Publisher: Beach Lane Books / Simon & Schuster
Date of Publication: March 3, 2020
Number of Pages: 32



A community garden unites neighbors in this celebration of all the things that grow there, from flowers and fruits, to friendships!  This ode to working together for a better world will have young readers wanting to plant gardens of their own!
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Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of many beloved books for kids, including the brand new Thank You, Garden, as well as the Caldecott Honor book All the World and others, including several co-authored with her pal Audrey Vernick. Scanlon also wrote the middle grade novel The Great Good Summer and is published in numerous poetry anthologies. She serves on the faculty of the Vermont Faculty of Fine Arts and is a frequent and popular presenter at conferences and festivals. Find more about her life and work at www.LizGartonScanlon.com





Follow illustrator Simone Shin on Instagram!
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Sunday, May 3, 2020

Rainy Thoughts: Quarantine Life Week 8

You guys, it has been 8 weeks since I started quarantine(ing) and I am measuring my quarantine by when I started working from home, so that has been a full 8 weeks. It's crazy. Week 8. It has me writing letters to friends and doing renditions of Broadway musicals. For those of you who don't know, I took theatre from middle school to high school and even took a class in college. That was actually going to be my major in college until I came to the realization that if I can't sing, I was not going to make it. So here I am, making my poor furbabies and husband endure my performances.

Quarantine also has me feeling accomplished. I have done quite a lot, and purchased quite a lot, for stuff I've been needing to do and get for the house but just didn't have time or was using the money for something else. But now, I don't have any excuses. My husband and I also have this great cleaning schedule going on and I'm definitely going to miss that once we go back to work.

Quarantine also has me missing everyday life. When I get out of quarantine, I am going to enjoy movies again with popcorn and a spiked Icee. I am going to go to 90's night at Brass Monkey and I'm going to Emo Night at the Paper Tiger and drink that red drink at The Amp Room. I'm going to visit my family and my in-laws in Corpus. And I'm going to take my dog out to the dog park again. And I'm going to plan my next vacation.

But for now, I'm going to continue to stay home (with the occasional walk around the trails). Quarantine has made me appreciate the things and people in my life. I love the feeling of being in a cool room, reading a book, watching YouTube videos, writing and playing Animal Crossing. I love spending time with my husband and our cat and dog. And though we are in a sucky situation, I still love my life.