Ghost Boys [Book Review]

August 5, 2022

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes (cover) Image: a graphic image of streetlights and a youing African American boy from the eyes up all against a red background with white text

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary and Realistic Fiction (with historical references), (mature) Middle Grade (6th grade +)/Young Adult/Adult, Own Voices, Chicago, Diverse Read, African American

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Jerome is twelve and has been shot by the police because the officer thought he was holding a real gun and felt his life was in danger. The community is outraged. Jerome returns as a ghost and has a front-row seat to the grief of his parents and the trial proceedings. He is invisible to everyone except Sarah, the daughter of the officer. Jerome also meets other Ghost Boys from different historical times who suffered untimely and unjust deaths and continue to “bear witness.”

My Thoughts:

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#Survey Followup [Blogging]

August 3, 2022

Thank you surrounded by a floral wreath

Thank You For Taking My Survey!

Bloggers and participants might be interested in a summary of results from my recent 5 Year Anniversary post!

  • Most respondents receive notification of blog posts via email (43%) or WP Reader (21%).
  • Most respondents enjoy reviews of new releases (58%) as opposed to backlist titles (41%). I do write more reviews of new releases, so it looks like I’m meeting your expectations here.
  • Most respondents can’t remember how they found my blog (46%), but I think it’s significant that 21% found my blog via a link from another blog. So…..keep shouting out your blogging friends. We really appreciate it!
  • 32% of respondents have shared my blog on Twitter (which validates time spent there! www.twitter.com/ReadingLadiesBC) and 25% have shared my blog link with a friend! Thank you! Thank you!
  • 100% of you found my blog easy to navigate! If you ever notice a glitch, please let me know! I’m indebted to Jennifer @ Tar Heel Reader for informing me early in my blogging venture that my twitter share option wasn’t working correctly, and she helped me troubleshoot the issue.
  • I asked this question twice (careless oversight) and respondents seem to enjoy Book Lists (34%, 29%), Book Reviews (31%, 35%), and Discussion Posts (24%, 31%).
  • 65% of blog respondents have followed for more than one year (forever grateful!), 17% for less than a year (welcome!), and 17% faithfuls from the beginning! (I appreciate your loyal support!)

Thank you for indulging me in this survey request. This is my first survey, and I’m thrilled to have received actual results! Your kind feedback is appreciated! I look forward to our virtual blogging relationship for years to come! If you’re a frequent commenter or you’ve never commented before, I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Reading Everyone!

i love books



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
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Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest

 

 

 

Isaiah Dunn Saves the Day [Book Review] #KidLit #MiddleGrade

August 2, 2022

Isaiah Dunn Saves the Day by Kelly J. Baptist

Isaiah Dunn Saves the Day by Kelly J. Baptist (cover) Image: A young African American boy (with blue cape) and girl stand looking at the camera

Genre/Categories: Children’s Contemporary Fiction, Middle Grade, Family Life, Diverse Read

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @RandomHouse @CrownPublishing (Crown Books for Young Readers) for a complimentary e ARC of #IsaiahDunnSavesTheDay upon my request. All opinions are my own.

In this follow-up to Isaiah Dunn is My Hero, Isaiah and his sister and mom continue to live with Miz Rita. As Isaiah starts middle school, his home life is more stable, Mama is feeling better, his poetry business is growing, he continues to work at Rock’s barbershop, his best friend Sneaky has a new side hustle, he starts working with the Rockets Reach Back mentorship program, and he continues to rely on his dad’s journals for inspiration and guidance.

My Thoughts:

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The Codebreaker’s Secret [Book Review] #BookTour @HTPBooks

August 2, 2022

The Codebreaker’s Secret by Sara Ackerman

The Codebreaker's Secret by Sara Ackerman (cover) Image: a young woman in a red polka dot dress looks up at planes flying above palm trees

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, WW11, Hawaii, Pearl Harbor

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Welcome to my stop on the Harlequin Trade Publishing 2022 Summer Blog Tour for Historical Fiction. Thank you #Netgalley @HarliquinBooks (Mira) @HTPBooks @BookClubbish for a complimentary e ARC of #TheCodebreakersSecret upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Harlequin Trade Press Blog Tour (showing the covers of several books)

Set in 1943, The Codebreaker’s Secret by Sara Ackerman is a story about Isabel and the codebreakers who work in the “dungeon” at Station HYPO in Pearl Harbor. They are in a race to retrieve data from the airwaves to help bring down the enemy. Isabel is grieving the loss of her brother as she faces sexism and other difficult working conditions. Circumstances look a little brighter when she meets her brother’s best friend, a hotshot pilot. A second timeline takes place in 1965 as journalist Lu Freitas covers the grand opening of a glamourous Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and meets a veteran photographer. As a team, they uncover a secret from the war days.

My Thoughts:

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July 2022 Reading Wrap Up

 July 31, 2022

 July 2022 Reading Wrap Up

July 2022 Reading Wrap Up (collage of covers)

How was your July reading?

July reading and blogging was interrupted by vacation, but I still read 9 books! Out of the 9 books completed, I had one 5-star read, two 4.5-star reads, three 4-star reads, and three 2-3.5-star reads.

The most memorable read of the month was Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, a Middle Grade/Young Adult story. (not yet reviewed)


Did we read any of the same books?

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Titles are Amazon affiliate links or my linked reviews
.
ARC=Advanced Readers Copy (complimentary copy for review before pub date)


Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

5 Stars. (MG/YA) Powerfully and gently written. Diverse read. Not yet reviewed.


The Forgotten Cottage by Courtney Ellis (ARC)

4.5 Stars. (ARC) Engaging women’s fiction (yet another grandmother has a secret story!). Review coming 8/9/2022.


Sugar and Salt by Susan Wiggs (ARC)

4.5 Stars. (ARC) Compelling and gritty women’s fiction (don’t let the light and fluffy cover fool you). My review of Sugar and Salt here.


The Brighter the Light by Mary Ellen Taylor

4 Stars. Women’s Fiction (It annoys me when I can’t connect the title with the story!). Not yet reviewed.


The Honeymoon Cottage by Lori Foster

4 Stars. Women’s Fiction. A wedding planner finds happiness. Not yet reviewed.


Yinka, Where is Your Huzband by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn

4 Stars. Fun, feel-good women’s fiction. Diverse read. Not yet reviewed.


The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis

 3.5 Stars. Historical Fiction. Not yet reviewed.


The Homewreckers by Mary Kay Andrews

3 Stars. Women’s Fiction. Underwelmed. Not yet reviewed.


The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery

2.5-3 Stars. Women’s Fiction. Too much open-door romance for my taste. Not yet reviewed.



QOTD:

What was your favorite July read?
Did we read any of the same books?
Which of these books is on your TBR?



July Blog Posts:

5th Blogiversary
Sugar and Salt Review
The Librarian Spy Review
Favorite Memorable Memoirs
Dakota: A Spiritual Geography Review
TTT: 10 Zany, dynamic, Memorable, Eccentric, or One-Of-A-Kind Characters
The Bodyguard Review
Anxious People Review
Jambo Book Box Subscription
A Dress of Violet Taffeta Review
Summer’s One #MustReadBook 2022
Ordinary Grace Review



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book covers and photos are credited to Amazon or publisher websites.

© http://www.ReadingLadies.com

 

Celebration Time: 5th Blogiversary! Stats, Tips, and Survey

July 31, 2022

5 year blogiversary 2022 (banner, confetti, dots, balloons)

Balloon Banner Image Source: Unsplash

Welcome to My Blogiversary Celebration Post!

In July, I reached a significant blogging milestone! FIVE YEARS!
To celebrate I’m sharing data, tips, and a survey!

Stats:

Are you a stats nerd? I do like to analyze my data to make sure I’m on an upward trend. I only compete with myself and you may find these stats dismal or intimidating depending on where you are in your blogging journey. For beginning bloggers, I think it’s helpful to have a realistic picture of what can be achieved with consistency in posting and promoting over a period of time. Please scroll past if this is uninteresting!

After FIVE years of consistent blogging, here are a few current Blogging Stats:

  • Number of Followers: 3,672 (A huge shout out to each of my followers! I can’t do this without your support!)
  • Overall Views: 538,952 (Thank you for visiting!)
  • Overall Number of Posts: 792
  • Most Popular Post (this year): The Stranger in the Lifeboat
  • Most Frequent Commenter (overall): Carla @ Carla Loves to Read (THANKS!)
  • Most Number of Referrals (this year) in order from most to least: Search Engines, WordPress Reader, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (bookstagram)
  • If there’s anything else you’d like to know, ask me in the comments!

My BEST 5 Blogging TIPS:

  1. Consistency (consistency in posting, content, comments, and promotion will grow your blog)
  2. Connection (connection with other bloggers will grow your blog and be an important source of encouragement and support)
  3. Find Your Voice (Let your personality shine! If you enjoy your content, others will as well!)
  4. Maximize Your Time (use templates for routine posts like book reviews, memes, and discussions…,copy a past post and use the format to create new content but be careful to edit out old information)
  5. Readability (If your content is fabulous but I feel overwhelmed by it, I’m not sticking around! Format for white space, subheadings, images, breaking-up text into short blocks, using bullets or numbered lists when applicable,) Readability is part of SEO (see this post for more information)

Survey Time!

I’d love it if you could help me out with a ten-question survey today! I promise that it will take only a few minutes! I treasure your feedback! I’ve never created a poll before (using the Block Editor in WordPress), so I hope it works!

Thank You Again, Everyone!

Thank you surrounded by a floral wreath

Blogging requires a great deal of effort, determination, persistence, and time…but I love Reading Ladies with my whole heart!

Thank you, Dear Readers and Followers, for supporting me with visits, likes, shares, comments, bookish conversation, and clicking affiliate links! I hope my reviews have encouraged you in your reading endeavors and have helped you find some great reads!

With gratitude,
Carol

a stack of three hardback books

Sugar and Salt [Book Review]

July 29, 2022

Sugar and Salt by Susan Wiggs

Sugar and Salt by Susan Wiggs (cover) Image: tight focus on a woman's hands around a cake pedestal holding a pink and white frosted layer cake

Genre/Categories/Setting: Adult Fiction, Women’s Fiction, San Francisco, Texas

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @HarperCollins @WilliamMorrowBooks @WmMorrowBooks for a complimentary e ARC of #SugarAndSalt upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Margot, a BBQ master from Texas, desperately needs a fresh start and ends up in San Francisco where she opens her own BBQ restaurant. Located right across from The Lost and Found Bookshop, the restaurant shares a commercial kitchen with Jerome, a handsome baker. She names her restaurant Salt and the bakery next door is called Sugar. The right combination of salt and sugar is also the secret to her award-winning BBQ sauce, As Margot and Jerome become friends, Margot’s traumatic past in Texas comes back to haunt her.

***Because of needed content warnings, this review may contain spoilers.

My Thoughts:

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The Librarian Spy [Book Review] #BlogTour @HTPBooks

July 26, 2022

The Librarian Spy by Madeline Martin

The Librarian Spy by Madeline Martin (cover) Image: two women looking in opposite directions

Genre/Categories/Settings: Historical Fiction, WW11, Books About Books, Espionage, (Lisbon) Portugal, (Lyon) France

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Welcome to my stop on the Harlequin Trade Publishing 2022 Summer Blog Tour for Historical Fiction. Thanks #NetGalley @HarlequinBooks @HTPBooks @Hanover_Square @BookClubbish for a complimentary e ARC of #TheLibrarianSpy by Madeline Martin upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Harlequin Trade Press Blog Tour (showing the covers of several books)

Ava loves her quiet and routine job at the Library of Congress. One day, she receives an unexpected offer from the U.S. Military to pose as a librarian in Lisbon while working undercover to gather intelligence. In France, Elaine works as an apprentice for a printing press run by the Resistance. Ava and Elaine find themselves connecting through coded messages in an attempt to help a Jewish family.

My Thoughts:

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Favorite Memorable Memoirs #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge #WOYBC #NonFiction

July 22, 2022

Do You Have Memorable Memoirs on Your Bookshelf?

Memorable Memoirs (white type over a picture of an open laptop, a cup of cofee, and a pink flowering plant)

Today for the July #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on Memoirs.

The memoirs I love have something to say about LIFE. My favorite memoirs are not the simplistic and often self-indulgent recounting of a celebrity’s life, fascinating as that may be!

The titles listed are representative of memoirs I’ve loved (and not an exhaustive list). As usual with any genre, personal taste accounts for my favorites. Reviews links are included when available. Do we share any favorites?

***Titles in this post are links to my reviews or Amazon affiliate links.

Favorite Memoirs

(in no particular order)

Open by Andre Agassi

Open by Andre Agassi (cover) Image: a head shot of Andre Agassi

Why: Although the detailed recounting of tennis matches could have been condensed, they actually help me understand the grueling (physical and mental) nature of the game. I really appreciate his reflections on the meaning of his life (any life) and his conclusions that helping/serving others is the secret ingredient of a fulfilling life. In my review (click title to follow link), I’ve included several poignant quotes.

Born a Crime: Stories of a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (cover) Image: a casual Trevor Noah

Why: I really appreciate the glimpse into Trevor Noah’s childhood experiences and candid reflections on post-Apartheid racism in South Africa. I gained a new understanding of what it means to be “mixed race.” See my full review by clicking on the title. (FYI, there’s also a YA version of the book)

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson cover

Why: I appreciate Bryan Stevenson’s reflections on racial injustice and learning about his own initiative. Click on the title to follow the link to my full review. (FYI, there’s a YA version of the book)

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (cover)

Why: Years and years ago, before I read so much in the historical fiction (WW11) genre, I read The Hiding Place. I would like to experience a reread and review it properly. I think it would be more interesting/meaningful now because I’ve read so many WW11 titles. Not reviewed. (Christian)

The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eger

The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger (cover) Image: black text on a white background and a black stemmed reddish flower is placed on the entire left margin

Why: I love how Dr. Eger applies the difficult learnings from her time in a concentration camp to our lives today.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb (cover)

Why: I love the field of psychology, but at first, I wasn’t sure about this memoir. I wasn’t too sympathetic to a therapist who couldn’t handle a personal break-up. However, as I continued to read, I ended up loving the memoir.

The Girl With Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story by Hyeonseo Lee

The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee (cover)

Why: This memoir reads like a thriller! Read my review by clicking on the title link.

Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family by Mitch Albom

Finding Chika by Mitch Albom (cover)

Why: 1. I love Mitch Albom; and 2. I love “found family” and adoption. I appreciate how Albom tenderly and candidly shares his experiences of taking guardianship of a medically fragile child. His reflections on what makes a family are thoughtful and poignant. My review can be found by clicking on the title.

Educated by Tara Westover

Educated by Tara Westover (cover) Image: a giant sharpened pencil as background

Why: Well,….it was a case of FOMO but I am intrigued by a complicated family drama. I appreciate the example of an individual who grows up in a dysfunctional family and can escape and create a healthier life for herself. See my review by following the title link.

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin (cover) Image: an old professional baseball stadium

Why: I love baseball and nostalgia and I appreciate Goodwin’s writing. I love a peek into the 50s and 60s! Click on the title to see my full review.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (MG)

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (cover)

Why: I love this look into Woodson’s childhood experiences. It encourages understanding and compassion for children in similar circumstances. Read my review by clicking on the title link.

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy (cover)

Why: I appreciate the exposure to a culture I didn’t grow up in, and I found a great deal in here that applied to the student population I served at the time. Read my full review by clicking on the title.

Unbroken: A World War 11 Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (cover) Image: white text over a sepia toned sunset over water

Why: After reading a great deal of WW11 historical fiction, I greatly appreciate reading about the life of a veteran and his experiences before, during, and after the war. Although this isn’t technically a memoir, it comes across as one because of the author’s extensive interviews. I read this before I started blogging….so no formal review.

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

The Glass Castle (cover)

Why: Actually my grandson recommended this to me as he was reading it for a high school class. Like Educated, it’s a remarkable story of dysfunctional family, resilience, and survival. Click on the title for my review.

We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success

We Beat the Street cover

Why: When I taught 5th grade, the special education teacher recommended this memoir to me. I loved that it was a diverse read and I bought copies for my classroom. Several students enjoyed reading about these three kids who made a pact to support each other in school and pursue their dreams in the medical field. As adults, these three doctors have a foundation to help students like themselves. Not reviewed.

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle

Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle (cover) blue text above and below the graphic image of memorial candles

Why: I love this inspiring memoir of a man who dedicates his life to providing intervention, work, community, and hope for gang members in Los Angeles, California. Not reviewed.



QOTD:

Do you have a favorite memoir to share?
In your opinion, what makes a memoir memorable?



 I’m linking up with Deb @ Deb’s World and Sue @ Women Living Well After 50, Donna @ Retirement Reflections, and Jo @ And Anyways…. for the July installment of #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge.

Whats On Your Bookshelf Challenge



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price at no extra cost to you.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

Dakota: A Spiritual Geography [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday #NonFiction #Memoir

July 21, 2022

Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris
#throwbackthursday

Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris (white text over a midwest prairie)

Genre/Categories/Setting: Nonfiction, Memoir, Essay, Rural Life, Reflections, Faith

Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I highlight an older review or post a current review of an old read. Today, I’m sharing a special book I read years ago but have never reviewed on the blog, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Amazon Summary:

“Kathleen Norris invites readers to experience rich moments of prayer and presence in Dakota, a timeless tribute to a place in the American landscape that is at once desolate and sublime, harsh and forgiving, steeped in history and myth. In thoughtful, discerning prose, she explores how we come to inhabit the world we see, and how that world also inhabits us. Her voice is a steady assurance that we can, and do, chart our spiritual geography wherever we go.”

My Thoughts:

As this post is published, I’m on a plane heading for a family reunion in rural, northeastern South Dakota! This book captures many of my feelings about my home state. I have the fondest memories of corn fields, 360-degree views of the horizon, rolling hills, pastures, cows, chickens (and my grandmother chasing them around the farmyard to wring a neck, chop off a head, pluck feathers, and cook one for dinner), barn cats, eating peas directly from the pod in my grandma’s garden, blizzards (and making homemade ice cream), endless skies, wind, kick the can (in a dark farmyard!), small-town life (including “going to town” on Saturday nights), dark nights, starry skies, isolation, thunderstorms, corn fields, friendly/nice people, windmills, afternoons at the lake, fishing, taking my dad lunch in the fields, and country roads. 

Do you love reading books that mention your home state or towns and locations with which you are familiar? Personal connections make the reading experience so much more enjoyable!

Even if you’re not from the Dakotas, you might appreciate this memoir if you love rural life, beautiful prose, and spiritual reflections.



QOTD:

What is one book with which you have a deep personal connection?