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Rhiannon Recommends: My Top 10 Reads of 2018

My Top 10 Reads of 2018

Click on each title to jump to my review or Instagram post for each release.

 A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
 Mr & Mrs American Pie by Juliet McDaniel
 The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton
 Vox by Christina Dalcher 
 An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
 The Banker's Wife by Cristina Alger
 The Beekeeper : Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq by Dunya Mikhail 
 Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
 The Girl on the Velvet Swing by Simon Baatz
 Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield 

Review: Tater Tot at the Chase: A Happy Helper by Laura Holman Byrne

My mom lives in @chaseparkplaza, a super cool hotel with residences in the Central West End of St. Louis. Her building is full of the cutest pups, including @tatertatertot who has written the sweetest little book "Tater Tot at the Chase: A Happy Helper" (with help from his "mom" Laura Holman Byrne).

Tater Tot is always eager for new adventures and often learns that mistakes can be valuable lessons for life! A few life lessons Tater Tot learns in this book are: keeping your word, being selfless, honesty, sportsmanship, practicing moderation, listening, forgiving, being appreciative, accepting, understanding consequences, and many more.

If you can't meet Tater Tot on his glamorous, sold out, worldwide DJ tour / book tour, be sure to follow Tater Tot's adventures on Instagram and then order your copy of his book HERE

Review: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

"Hello, Hollywood...I'd like to play Daisy Jones."

"No, I don't have any acting experience, but since I was named after one of the biggest hit singles from one of the highest-selling rock bands of all time I think I'm totally qualified."


I was OBSESSED with Taylor Jenkins Reid's "The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" last year and was anxiously awaiting her new release, Daisy Jones & the Six (releasing March 5, 2019 / Ballantine #partner) When I read the summary I was even more head over heels. A legendary rock band splits at the height of their popularity and no one knew why...until now. The book is styled as a series of interviews and the pacing is absolute perfection (longer sections of dialogue and descriptions from the main band members mixed with quick snippets from friends and acquaintances in the band's outer circle). I loved every page and knew this would be another book by Reid that I would be telling everyone about but I had no idea that I was going to get an ending like that--I've never had chills upon chills upon chills like I did reading the final pages of Daisy Jones & the Six.

Goodreads Summary:
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

Click a link below to pre-order (seriously, you'll thank me later):
Charis (my favorite independent feminist bookstore)

Review: The Periodic Table of Feminism by Marisa Bate

The Periodic Table of Feminism by Marisa Bate  (October 16, 2018 / Seal Press)

My Review:
This fun and unique book features dozens of feminists by dividing them into "chemical" groups like the periodic table. For example, the catalysts section features "pioneers and fire-starters," like Susan B. Anthony and Sheryl Sandberg and the explosives section features "radicals and anarchists" like Adrienne Rich and Roxane Gay. As the book progresses from members of the First Wave through the Fourth Wave, a reader can follow the many paths, focal points, and theories that lie beneath the wider umbrella of feminism. This book obviously cannot cover every aspect of feminism but it offers lots of information...all in under 200 pages. Its small size makes it the perfect addition to your travel bag or purse. It is ideal for reading snippets and sections here or there as time allows or you could probably devour it in a single sitting. My reading fell somewhere in between because I found myself researching women and topics I hadn't heard about before like publishing pioneer Barbara Smith or rebellious priest Una Kroll. A definite "must have" if you want to know more about the main players in the feminist movements. 

Review: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (The Road to Nowhere #1) by Meg Elison

When she fell asleep, the world was doomed. When she awoke, it was dead.

Goodreads Summary: In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth’s population—killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant—the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. Gone are the pillars of civilization. All that remains is power—and the strong who possess it. A few women like her survived, though they are scarce. Even fewer are safe from the clans of men, who, driven by fear, seek to control those remaining. To preserve her freedom, she dons men’s clothing, goes by false names, and avoids as many people as possible. But as the world continues to grapple with its terrible circumstances, she’ll discover a role greater than chasing a pale imitation of independence. After all, if humanity is to be reborn, someone must be its guide.

My Review: 
First published in 2014, this debut novel has been on my radar for years, but as reading lists go...I just hadn't gotten to it yet. I decided to circle back and check it out after becoming a bit jilted regarding the current deluge of (unfortunately mostly subpar) feminist dystopian fiction. This story inspired me to move up several other feminist dystopian backlist releases that have gotten pushed back on my reading list. 

After a worldwide plague wipes out almost all women and babies, the unnamed protagonist of this story disguises herself as a man and ventures out in search of women to save or help. As a labor and delivery nurse she is knowledgable about women's health and she is equipped with birth control and medicine to help the women she can't save. (As a logical mind can imagine almost all of the remaining women are being used as sex slaves). The unnamed midwife keeps a journal of her experiences and her memories which serve as insight into her humanity and sexuality. It was fascinating to imagine a fierce woman determined to not only survive in this new world but to help fellow women in any way she can, no matter the danger. As a Philip K. Dick Award Winner for Distinguished Science Fiction, this novel is a true feminist dystopian masterpiece and I highly recommend it.

My New Feature in Cherry Creek and Boulder Lifestyle Magazines

I love suggesting and reviewing books and I love writing for magazines, which probably makes my Page Turners features my favorite articles to write! Check out the magazines here: 

Winter Warmers: Cuddle Up with These Winter Themed New Releases
by Rhiannon Johnson
photography provided by publishers

Ways to Hide in Winter by Sarah St. Vincent
MHPBooks.com $25.99
Deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a young widow befriends a mysterious foreigner; setting in motion a politically charged journey of violence, betrayal, empathy, and reconciliation.

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
ECWPress.com /$14.95
Leaders must restore order and save their people from a grave fate as their small northern Anishinaabe community faces winter without power or communication. 

Winter Loon by Susan Bernhard
A haunting coming-of-age story about a resilient boy confronting the burden of his family’s dark, broken past and finding the freedom in letting go.

Winter: Warm Recipes for Cold Nights by Louise Franc
140 classic and modern recipes from around the world that not only taste amazing but will keep you warm on cold winter nights.