Torn Reading

April 28, 2011

Wednesday, May 4 at 7:30 pm Shannon Hyland-Tassava and Katy Read will read from Torn: True Stories of Kids, Career & the Conflict of Modern Motherhood.


The Bird Sisters-Midwest Connections

April 26, 2011

The Bird Sisters 

When a bird flies into a window in Spring Green, Wisconsin, sisters Milly and Twiss get a visit. Twiss listens to the birds’ heartbeats, assessing what she can fix and what she can’t, while Milly listens to the heartaches of the people who’ve brought them. These spinster sisters have spent their lives nursing people and birds back to health. PW writes, “Achingly authentic and almost completely character driven, the story of the sisters depicts the endlessly binding ties of family.”

Rebecca Rasmussen teaches creative writing and literature at Fontbonne University. Her stories have appeared in Triquarterly magazine and the Mid-American Review. She was a finalist in both Narrative magazine’s 30 Below Contest for writers under the age of thirty and in Glimmer Train’s Family Matters Contest. She lives with her husband and daughter in St. Louis. This is her first novel. 

Mothers & Daughters-Midwest Connections

April 22, 2011

Mothers & Daughters

Set in Madison, Wisconsin, Mothers and Daughters by Rae Meadows is about three generations of women — Sam, Iris, and Violet — their stories intertwined to span the twentieth century. Inspired by her own journey into motherhood, Rae Meadows explores the feeling of being “knocked off balance by motherhood.” She shows readers how to recognize themselves and their loved ones — no matter how much anyone changes over time. Mothers and Daughters is rich and luminous novel about three generations of women in one family: the love they share, the dreams they refuse to surrender, and the secrets they hold. ”Mothers and Daughters is a powerful novel of women’s secrets and strength.”–Sandra Dallas, New York Times best-selling author

Rae Meadows is the author of Calling Out, which received the 2006 Utah Book Award for fiction, and No One Tells Everything, a Poets & WritersNotable Novel. She is available to discuss the quintessentially American themes in her latest novel — migration, class mobility, and the bonds between family. Meadows is a former resident of Madison, WI, and now lives with her husband and two daughters in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Reading May 4, 7:30 pm Shannon Hyland-Tassava and Katy Read

April 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 4 at 7:30 pm Shannon Hyland-Tassava and Katy Read will read from Torn: True Stories of Kids, Career & the Conflict of Modern Motherhood. 

TORN is an anthology edited by Samantha Parent Walravens. The 49 stories are fascinating, true,  day-in-the-life vignettes about contemporary motherhood, written by both working and stay-at-home moms. Its contributors are mothers who work because their finances require it and those who work to preserve their sanity, stay-at-home moms who love mothering and those who long for more. Along with these tales from the inner sanctum of motherhood, TORN also includes contributions from outsiders: women whose busy personal and professional lives got in the way until the motherhood option was no longer open for them.

TORN is a treat for any working or stay-at-home mom who needs reassurance that she is not alone–that her frustrations and her joys are shared by women of every age and income group nationwide. The perfect Mothers’ Day gift, TORN is also an ideal present for baby showers and a must-read for any book group.

City of Bones-Guest Review

April 16, 2011

Liz Anderson is a local blogger who specializes in reviewing Young Adult literature. Her knowledge of this category is much better than my own. Liz will be posting book reviews to the Monkeyread blog on a regular basis. For even more book reviews of YA literature check out her website

Here is review number one. 

City of Bones seems to be a book that people either love or really didn’t care for. I’d heard very high praise of it and was also starting to feel like the only blogger who hadn’t read it, so I decided to pick up a copy for myself. I felt that while City of Bones was an original take on the paranormal, it had enough flaws that I couldn’t quite love it.

Who’s ever heard of a Shadowhunter before? I certainly hadn’t until reading this book. I found the mythology behind the Shadowhunters and The Clave completely fascinating, and I can’t wait to learn more about those aspects of the series. The rest of the plot kept me pretty interested until the end at which my brain just kind of said, “Really? Ew. No.”

I was kind of fifty fifty in terms of characters. I will say that I really liked Clary as a character, because she was strong and didn’t take any crap (even if she was a bit oblivious at times). Simon I loved. Jace, on the other hand, I wasn’t a huge fan of. While had a few funny lines, I found him too mean to be likable. I also must confess that while I know some people enjoyed Clare’s writing, I was not the biggest fan. Some of the metaphors and similes she used just didn’t quite work for me. I’m hoping that it will evolve and suit my tastes a bit better as the series continues.

Kelsey of Reading and Breathing told me that no matter what, I should finish reading this series, and I’m interested enough that I’ll definitely check out the next installments. Although City of Bones was good, I hoped and felt that it could have been more. Hopefully I’ll like Clare’s other work better.

Bent Road-Midwest Connections

April 16, 2011

Bent Road

At the core of Bent Road is a Midwestern family’s struggle with a past never laid to rest. Set in small town Kansas, PW’s starred review says, “Roy’s outstanding debut melds strong characters and an engrossing plot with an evocative sense of place. This Midwestern noir with Gothic undertones is sure to make several 2011 must-read lists.”

Lori Roy was born and raised in the Midwest where she graduated from Kansas State University with a BS degree in finance. She worked for several years as a tax accountant and at Hallmark Cards, Inc., in Kansas City before turning her focus to writing. She is the recipient of the Ed Hirschberg Award for Excellence in Florida Writing.

The Wilder Life-Midwest Connections

April 14, 2011

The Wilder Life

A spirited tribute to the series of books that inspired generations of American women. Wendy McClure traces the pioneer journey of the Ingalls family — looking for the Big Woods among the medium trees in Wisconsin, wading in Plum Creek, and enduring a prairie hailstorm in South Dakota. While hand-grinding wheat to make bread and churning her own butter, she truly immerses herself in all things Little House — and finds that the things you once loved stay with you wherever you go. Written partly in response to her mother’s death, Wendy McClure shows her readers where home is. In a starred review, PW writes, “Readers don’t need to be Wilder fans to enjoy this funny and thoughtful guide to a romanticized version of the American expansion west.”

Wendy McClure is a columnist for BUST magazine and a children’s book editor. Her essays have appeared in the The New York Times Magazine, The Chicago Sun-Times, and in numerous anthologies. She was born in Oak Park, Illinois, graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and now lives in Chicago with her fiance, Chris, in a neighborhood near the river.


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