Review: Feeding the Dragon by Sharon Washington

Feeding the Dragon by Sharon WashingtonFeeding the Dragon by Sharon Washington

Series: None

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir

Setting: New York City

Source: Audiobook, (Sep 2018 Free Audible Original Member Benefit)

Narrator: Sharon Washington (1 hour, 18 minutes)

Publishing Date: 2018

Synopsis: Sharon Washington’s autobiographical one-woman play, Feeding the Dragon, delighted audiences off-Broadway and is now available exclusively on Audible. The one-act play invites listeners into Sharon’s unorthodox childhood, growing up in an apartment on the top floor of the St. Agnes Branch of the New York Public Library, where her father served as the building’s custodian. A love of literature and boundless imagination helped the playwright as a young woman persevere over dragons of all forms.

Directed by Maria Mileaf, Feeding the Dragon premiered at City Theatre in Pittsburgh and was subsequently produced by Hartford Stage and Primary Stages.

My thoughts

This is a short “Only from Audible” book that I received free on Audible since I’m a member. (This is a fairly new membership perk—members get to choose two Audible exclusives free from six Audible books each month.)

Her family lived on top floor of a New York Public Library!

This book was only 1 hour, 18 minutes long, but it was originally a Broadway play done by the author and narrator Sharon Washington. She talks mostly about the years she and her family lived on the top floor of a New York Public library. When I read that synopsis I knew I had to listen! I loved hearing how she spent time in the library when it was closed looking at and reading books as well as using her imagination to act out scenes. Since she became an actress as an adult I’m sure her years living at the library contributed to that.

Feeding the Dragon

However, there are lots of other parts to her story, too. The reason her family was able to live at the library was that her father had to take care of and fix problems at the library. His main job was to never let the coal-burning furnace go out. That is where the name of the story comes from. When she was a child she imagined the furnace was a fire-breathing dragon! She and her family had other dragons to deal with, too.

More to the story than the library

Sharon was lucky to go to a private school and sounds like she got a great education, but her story isn’t all light and happy. She is African-American and her parents explained the facts of life to her early. Not only is she African-American, but she also doesn’t come from a wealthy family. They made sure very early that she understood that.

She also learns the hard way that her father was a recovering alcoholic. That was very devastating to her—especially since she idolized her father. One morning she and her mother wake up and realize the coal-burning furnace is out and that her father isn’t in the building. Sharon and her mother must do the back breaking work to get the furnace working again because they know that’s the only reason their family gets to live at the library.

When she and her dad take a road trip to visit his family in the South, she begins to understand him better. During the road trip he doesn’t want to stop very often even when she needs to use a restroom at a service station. She finally realizes he’s afraid to stop because he’s African-American and the service station owner is probably white. She meets her grandma and her dad’s aunts, uncles and cousins for the first time. After that visit she understands her dad better and is able to see him more realistically.

So glad I listened to this story

I really like this story and am so glad I listened to it. If I had seen this story for sale at Audible I might not have bought. I’m glad Audible is offering some stories for free each month. I try genres and stories I might not otherwise.

I’m glad Sharon Washington narrated this story. That made the story more real to me.  Since I’m not African-American and don’t know too many people who are I gained a little more knowledge about how different my life in America is.

My Rating: B+

Narrator Rating: B+

Have you read (listened to) this book? It would have been fun to see the Off-Broadway play!

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Hope for the Best by Jodi Taylor

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

Hope for the Best by Jodi Taylor

Series: The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #10

Published by Headline

Publishing date: April 25

Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel

Synopsis: You can’t change History. History doesn’t like it. There are always consequences.

Max is no stranger to taking matters into her own hands. Especially when she’s had A Brilliant Idea. Yes, it will mean breaking a few rules, but – as Max always says – they’re not her rules.

Seconded to the Time Police to join in the hunt for the renegade Clive Ronan, Max is a long way from St Mary’s. But life in the future does have its plus points – although not for long.

A problem with the Time Map reveals chaos in the 16th century and the wrong Tudor queen on the throne. History has gone rogue, there’s a St Mary’s team right in the firing line and Max must step up.

You know what they say. Hope for the best. But plan for the worst. 

………………………

I love this series and am so happy to see that another book is coming out. I’m not caught up yet, but I’ll read several more of these this year.

Recent additions to my to-read list

That Artsy Reader Girl has hosted Top Ten Tuesday since January of 2018. This is a fun meme with specific topics each week. If you like to make lists and talk about books be sure to check it out.

The topic this week is one I’ve tweaked a bit. Instead of my most recent additions these are recent, but also the most likely ones I’ll read in the next few months! Not all the books I buy get read so quickly!

Fantasy

Dead Man Walking by Simon Green (ebook, purchased)

I read the first book in this series in 2018. Ishmael Jones is a unique character so I want to read more about him!

Mysteries

Fractured Truth by Susan Furlong (library book)

This is a hardback book (no digital formats available at my library), but hopefully I will get it read anyway since I really liked the first book in the series.

Brick and Mortality by Ann Granger (ebook, purchased)

I just read the first two books in this series and liked them so I bought the third book in the series since the price for the ebook is very good.

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf (audiobook, purchased)

I bought this in the recent Audible sale. I read my first Heather Gudenkauf book last year and am eager to read another.

Burning Ridge by Margaret Mizushima (audiobook, purchased)

The library doesn’t have this in a digital format so I used one of my Audible credits

Death Distilled by Melinda Mullett (ebook, purchased)

I read the first book in this series and really liked it so when this book was on sale I grabbed it.

Science Fiction

Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall (audiobook, purchased)

Another Audible credit for this book. I love the Linesman series by S.K. Dunstall.

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (audiobook, purchased)

I used an Audible credit to get this book since it’s one I’ve wanted to read since it was published last summer.

And the Rest is History by Jodi Taylor (ebook, purchased)

This is one of my favorite series and I hadn’t bought the last three books in the series. Since the price is very reasonable I bought the last three books.

The Expert System’s Brother by Adrian Tchaikovsky (ebook, purchased)

This was inexpensive and Sarah @ Brainfluff gave a good review for this book. Also I haven’t read any of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s books.

What books have you added to your to-read list lately?

Sunday Post: End of January

Sunday-Post

Kimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Personal life

More snow and cold plus wind this week. We had below zero wind chills and blowing snow one day. Roads that were previously cleared of snow were suddenly snowy and slick again. My husband and I had an appointment early that morning and luckily we had left early. We’ve had below freezing temps all week. Next week is supposed to get even colder with temperatures below zero for the high at least a couple of days. Of course, both my husband and I have various appointments and activities next week so we will be out in the cold at least some of the time. However, we have a reliable car with heated seats!

A deer in the yard
Donnie is a little hard to see since he’s at the back of our yard and is a small dog in snow almost over his head!

One afternoon Donnie (our son’s mini dachshund we’re taking care of during January) started barking and wanted to go outside. I thought he’d seen a squirrel so I let him out to chase it away from the bird feeders.

However, as soon as I let him out I saw a deer in the back of the yard. Donnie was ready to chase her out of “his” yard. The deer ran back and forth trying to remember how to get out of the yard. Donnie was furiously barking and forging a path through the deep snow that was almost over his head. I was standing on the back porch yelling at him to come back in since I was afraid if he caught up with the deer she would try to kick him. Of course, he ignored me!

The deer finally found the right spot to jump the fence and joined her five or six compatriots on the other side of the fence. Donnie continued to forge a path through the snow to make sure there were no more intruders! By the time I got him back to the house he was carrying a lot of the snow caught in his long hair. He was quite a sight, but he was also so proud of himself…lol. I didn’t even think of taking pictures of the deer, but once the deer was gone I did take some photos of Donnie trying to run and hop through the snow!

Winter cards

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I’ve mentioned before that I make greeting cards to send to friends and family. This week was the perfect week to make winter cards to send out. I listen to audiobooks while I’m making my cards so I feel like I get reading done at the same time I’m creating. Makes me happy!

Blog life

I’m getting back on track with posts and visiting blogs and commenting. I’m not caught up yet with  all the blogs I want to visit and comment on. Sometimes I get caught up in reading several posts and then have to go do something else and don’t get a comment done. Or I follow interesting links people put up and forget to go back and thank them for their links. I’m trying to do better with that because I really appreciate the content other bloggers (especially book bloggers) contribute and want them to know that. And I really appreciate people leaving comments on my blog and want them to know that, too. I don’t always reach my goals. It’s a work in progress!

Recent posts
Next week
  • Review
  • Most recent additions to my to-read list
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Review: Feeding the Dragon by Sharon Washington
  • February 2019 books on my list

My books

What I’m reading
  • Rack, Ruin and Murder by Ann Granger
  • Rocket Ship Galileo by Robert Heinlein
What I read recently
  • Mud, Muck and Dead Things by Ann Granger
  • Zero G by Dan Wells
Books I got recently

Rack, Ruin and Murder by Ann Granger

Pit Perfect by Renee George

The Expert System’s  Brother by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Working Stiff by Annelise Ryan

The Nothing Girl by Jodi Taylor

This Can’t Be Happening Collection (Free for Prime members–kindle & audiobook)

What have you been doing? What are your plans next week?

Review: Mercy Falls by William Kent Kreuger

Mercy Falls by William Kent Kreuger

Series: Cork O’Connor #5

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Setting: Minnesota and Chicago

Source: Audiobook, Library; 11 hours, 32 minutes

Narrator: David Chandler

Publishing Date: 2005

434 pages

Synopsis: Back in the saddle as sheriff of Tamarack County, Cork O’Connor is lured to the nearby Ojibwe reservation on what appears to be a routine call — only to become the target of sniper fire. Soon after, he’s called to investigate a mutilated body found perched above the raging waters of Mercy Falls. The victim is Eddie Jacoby, a Chicago businessman negotiating an unpopular contract between his management firm and the local Indian casino. Sparks fly when the wealthy Jacoby family hires a beautiful private investigator to consult on the case. But once Cork discovers an old and passionate tie between one of the Jacoby sons and his own wife, Jo, he begins to suspect that dark, personal motives lurk behind recent events. Murder, greed, sex, and jealousy hide around every corner in this maze of danger. But somewhere beneath the turbulent Mercy Falls lies the truth — and Cork is determined to find it….

My thoughts

This book was like riding a roller coaster…just when I thought the mystery was solved and it was winding up something more happens and I’m chugging back up a hill again and then racing down the other side. This happened to me several times and I’m still not sure the mystery is completely solved!

Once again sheriff

Cork is the sheriff of Tamarack County again and he has changed some of the department policies. As the book opens one of his deputies is questioning why the sheriff has changed the policy that he ride along on most calls to the reservation. A few minutes later they come under sniper fire and are fighting for their lives. And so begins a book full of twists and turns. I’m not going to say too much more about the book except that this is a great series and I think Mercy Falls is my favorite so far! There’s a lot of suspense as the story rolls along and Cork and the other law enforcement officers try to figure out why everything happens. Is everything connected, and, if so, how’s it connected?

A good listen

I listened to the audiobook and even though it’s over 11 hours long I listened to almost all of it in a day! The narrator is David Chandler and I think he does a good job. I’ve listened to several of the books in this series that he narrates and he makes the characters come alive in my imagination.

Bottom line

I have taken my time reading these books over the last couple of years, because I like them so much. It’s hard when I run out of books in a series even if it just means waiting for a year or so for the next one. However, as soon as I ended this book I had to go and get the next in the series since Mercy Falls ends on a bit of a cliffhanger!

My Rating: A-

Narrator Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Awards

  • Barry Award Nominee for Best Novel (2006)
  • Anthony Award for Best Novel (2006)

Reading Challenges

  • 52 books in 52 weeks hosted by the mommymannegren.com blog — An audiobook
  • The Backlist Reader Challenge hosted by Lark @ The Bookwyrm’s Hoard
  • Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! & Barb @ Book T’s Farm
  • Library Love Challenge hosted by the Angel’s Guilty Pleasures blog
  • Review Writing Challenge hosted by Shari @ Delighted Reader blog

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Ambush by Barbara Nickless

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

Ambush by Barbara Nickless

Series: Sydney Rose Parnell #3

Published by Thomas & Mercer

Publishing date: March 19

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Synopsis: Railway cop and former Marine Sydney Parnell is on the hunt. So is a killer she knows only as the Alpha. They’re in a race to find Malik, an eleven-year-old Iraqi boy with secrets to guard. Sydney wants to help him. The Alpha wants him dead.

From the dark alleys of Mexico City to the mean streets of Denver, Sydney and her K9 partner, Clyde, use their wits and determination to chase down the ruthless killer. But when their path collides with his, Sydney realizes just how far-reaching and sinister the Alpha’s past is. And how far he’s willing to go to save his secrets. 

…………………………

I’ve read the first two books in this series and am looking forward to reading more about Sydney Rose Parnell and her K9 partner Clyde.

What books are you excited about?

2018 books I meant to read but haven’t yet

Top Ten Tuesday originally created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. This is a fun meme with specific topics each week. If you like to make lists be sure to check it out. I haven’t joined in too much lately, but plan to participate more this year.

These are all 2018 books that I thought I’d read, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Science Fiction

Exit Strategy by Martha Wells

The Murderbot Diaries #4

The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi

The Interdependency #2

Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall

Unknown series?

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Lady Astronaut #1

The Privilege of Peace by Tanya Huff

Peacekeeper #3

Into the Fire by Elizabeth Moon

Vatta’s Peace #2

Mystery

Back Stabbers by Julie Mulhern

Country Club Murders #8

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen

Her Royal Spyness #12

A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee

Sam Wyndham #2

Fantasy

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Stand-alone Fantasy

Stone Mad by Elizabeth Bear

Karen Memory #2

Have you read any of these books? How did you like them?

What books did you miss reading in 2018?

Sunday Post: Snow, cold and sunshine

Sunday-Post

Kimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Personal life

Lots of appointments and places to go this week and then we had our second snowfall of the season Friday. It has also gotten very cold–below zero last night. We didn’t get a lot of snow, but the original snow hadn’t melted so it’s piling up and not supposed to get very warm for a while. But it is winter and the snow is beautiful. We had several sunny and cold days. I love the sun in the winter.

If we need to go somewhere it helps that the street in front of our house is a connecting road so the city keeps it plowed and clear. We have a long, steep driveway so we have a snowblower to help clear the snow. (We’ve gotten stuck several times trying to get the car up to our house when the driveway isn’t clear!)

We had planned to visit our daughters in Illinois and Indiana the next couple of weeks, but with the forecasts for snow and bitterly cold weather we’ve postponed the visits. Our son is coming to pick up his dog on February 1. I’m going to miss Donnie, but he will be so happy to see my son and leave for his new home in Seattle. We plan to visit our daughters sometime in February when we don’t have to worry so much about freezing rain and snow.

Blog

Reading Challenges

I spent quite a bit of time on my reading challenges. I signed up for a few more and finished all my pages for the 2019 challenges. I’m doing seven challenges–yes, seven challenges! I enjoy challenging myself in these challenges and as long as I’m organized I have fun with them.

I also signed up for “They Call It Puppy Love Challenge” which Barb @ Booker T’s Farm is hosting. This reading challenge lasts the month of February! I’m excited about this challenge since I’m enjoying reading books with dogs as major characters. I’ve especially enjoyed reading about working dogs–police dogs, soldiers’ dogs, therapy dogs. Check out Barb’s blog for more information.

Reviews and Comments

Now that I have my 2019 reading challenges organized I’m focusing on getting the 2018 reviews I’ve started finished and posted plus trying to write my 2019 reviews soon after I finish reading my books. I also worked to get caught up answering comments and visiting other blogs. I’m trying to visit a few blogs each day.

Recent posts

Next week
  • Books I meant to read in 2018 but didn’t get to
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Review: Mercy Falls by William Kent Kreuger
  • Review: Feeding the Dragon by Sharon Washington

My books

What I’m reading
  • Mud, Muck and Dead Things by Ann Granger
  • Zero G by Dan Wells
What I read recently
  • A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert
  • Copper River by William Kent Kreuger
Books I got recently

Death Distilled by Melinda Mullett

Alphas: Origins by Ilona Andrews

Dark City by Kit Hallows

Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson

What are you doing?

Are you going to look for the Lunar eclipse tonight with the “super blood wolf moon?” We have mostly cloudy weather forecast. 😦 But we’ll try to see if it’s visible. 

Reading Challenges–2019

I’ve signed up for a number of reading challenges this year:

I have written sign-up posts for all the reading challenges except 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Des Moines Public Library Reading Challenge and Goodreads Reading Challenge. They didn’t require sign-up posts.

52 Books in 52 Weeks (hosted by Liz @ Mommy Mannegren)

This reading challenge has 52 categories and participants choose books to read that fit each category. It should be lots of fun since there are some great categories!

Des Moines Public Library Reading Challenge

This challenge is hosted by my local library and I’m very excited to participate! There are 12 topics and the idea is to read a book which fits the topic each month. They can be read in any order.

Goodreads Reading Challenge

I have challenged myself to read 95 books this year.

………………………

I’m working on pages for each challenge for my blog. I will keep track of each book I read that matches one of my challenges and when I review a book I will add a link to the review on my blog.

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge

cloak and dagger reading challenge

The Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge is hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! & Barb @ Book T’s Farm. Contact one of them for more information about the challenge.

I have done this reading challenge several times and really enjoy it since I’m enjoying reading mysteries so much. However, I always have problems remembering to link my reviews. I’ll try to remember to do that more this year.

Challenge Goals

  • Read at the Special Agent Level — 36 – 55 books
  • Review as many of the mysteries I read as possible
  • Try to remember to link up my reviews

Challenges Rules

  • Read any book that is from the mystery/suspense/thriller/crime genres. Any sub-genres are welcome as long as they incorporate one of these genres.
  • You don’t need a blog to participate but you do need a place to post your reviews to link up. (blog, goodreads, booklikes, shelfari, etc.)
  • Make a goal post and link it back here with your goal for this challenge.
  • Books need to be novellas or novels, please no short stories. (At least 100 pages +)
  • Crossovers into other challenges  are fine.
  • The Challenge will  be from Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st. (Sign up ends March 15th)

What challenges have you signed up for?