Seven Best Reads of Summer

September 20, 2019

Seven Best Reads of Summer

7 Best Reads of Summer

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Since summer is a prime reading season for most of us, I thought it would be fun to reflect on favorite reads of the summer before planning our Fall TBRs.

The following are my favorite books read from April 21-September 20, 2019. Titles are affiliate Amazon links, and full blog reviews are also linked. 


The first THREE are my top reads! 


The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

***also my favorite of the year (so far)
Full review here.


The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

***favorite read of the year runner up!
Full review here.


Ask Again Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Full review here.


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The Dearly Beloved: A Review

September 19, 2019

A thoughtful story of faith and doubt, hope and disappointment, friendship and marriage, career and family….

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

The Dearly Beloved Review

Genre/Categories: Literary Fiction, Faith, Marriage and Family

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Four very different individuals (two couples) navigate relationships, marriage, children, faith, career, ministry, crisis, joy, friendship, forgiveness, uncertainty, understanding, and heartbreak. The couples meet in the 1960s when the men, Charles and James, accept positions as co-pastors of the Third Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. The relationship between the couples is strained because the wives are polar opposites: Lily is a loner and an atheist and Nan values connection and is a devout Christian. In this tender character-driven story that covers decades of life, we also learn the backstory of each individual.

My Thoughts:

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With the Fire on High: A Review

September 17, 2019

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

With the Fire on High Review.png

Genre/Categories: Contemporary YA Fiction, Cooking, Multi-Generational Family, Coming of Age

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Emoni Santiago is a responsible, creative, and determined teenage mother. In addition to caring for her young daughter, living with and helping to support her grandmother, and navigating her classes as a high school senior, Emoni is well known for her extraordinary cooking skills. For her, cooking is an artistic adventure. A new culinary arts class is offered at her school along with a class trip to Spain. Given all her responsibilities and financial situation, can she possibly risk everything to follow her dreams?

Amazon Rating: 4.8 Stars

My Thoughts:

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Happy Friday! #ThePositivityWave

September 13, 2019

Hello and Happy Friday!

I’m joining with Meggy @ Chocolate’n’Waffles to spread some positivity among all the doom and gloom on social media and in the news. Please feel free to join in with your own Happy Friday post and link to Meggy. Thanks to Nicki at The Secret Library Book Blog and Jonetta at The Blue Mood Cafe for the inspiration!
#positivity #gratitude

Positivity

Gratitude and Positivity are FREE and make every day BETTER!


Today, September 13, 2019,
is National Positive Thinking Day!


Yes, there literally is a day for everything it seems!

So, I’m encouraging you today (and this weekend) to do something to spread the positivity wave! Buy someone a coffee, send an encouraging note or a thank you, phone or text your best friend, smile at a stranger, extend a compliment…. SHARE THE POSITIVITY!

Here is a set of positive quotes to celebrate National Positive Thinking Day!



QOTD: What are you feeling Positive about today? 

What do you do to maintain a positive attitude?



If You Want To Make God Laugh: A Review

September 13, 2019

If You Want To Make God Laugh
by Bianca Marais

If You Want to Make God Laugh Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, South Africa, Family Life

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

If You Want to Make God Laugh is the story of three unforgettable women living in post-Apartheid South Africa at the time of a growing AIDS epidemic and threats of civil war. Zodwa is seventeen, pregnant, poor, and lives in a squatter’s camp. Ruth and Delilah are middle-aged sisters who live on an inherited, rural farm. While Ruth is an unhappy, disillusioned, and newly divorced socialite, Delilah is a former nun and social worker who is hiding a big secret. A newborn baby will bring these characters together, and this is a story of their precarious relationships, of sibling jealousy, rivalry, and healing, and of found family.

My Thoughts:

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The Vanished Bride: A Review

September 10, 2019

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

The Vanished Bride Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Mystery

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Thank you #netgalley #berkleypublishinggroup for the free e-copy of #thevanishedbride by @brontemysteries (Bella Ellis) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Summary:

The Vanished Bride is the highly imagined story of the famous Bronte Sisters before they were authors. In 1845, when all four Bronte siblings return home to live with their father (for various reasons), Charlotte, Emily, and Anne hear about the disappearance and suspected murder of a young neighbor woman, they decide to become lady detectors and embark on an ambitious endeavor to solve the mystery. Relying on their resourcefulness, determination, energy, wits, cleverness, and creativity, they investigate, interrogate, analyze clues, and follow leads. The sisters need to pursue these activities without drawing attention to themselves because of the expectations for women and their roles at that time. Since they are already intrigued by the idea of becoming authors in a male-dominated field, they are already thinking outside the box and challenging boundaries. Although at times they need to involve their brother, most of the investigation is accomplished without the knowledge of their protective father. Will they solve the mystery of the vanished bride?

My Thoughts:

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Happy Friday! #ThePositivityWave

September 6, 2019

Hello and Happy Friday!

I’m joining with Meggy @ Chocolate’n’Waffles to spread some positivity among all the doom and gloom on social media and in the news. Please feel free to join in with your own Happy Friday post and link to Meggy. Thanks to Nicki at The Secret Library Book Blog and Jonetta at The Blue Mood Cafe for the inspiration! Tina at Reading Between the Pages Blog joined the wave today!
#positivity #gratitude

Positivity

Gratitude and Positivity are FREE and make every day BETTER!

New Vehicle!

I don’t purchase a new vehicle very often (I previously owned a classic 2002 Ford Excursion!), so I’m thrilled with my new GMC Yukon!

Yukon

Air Conditioning!

Every day I’m grateful for air conditioning and it’s essential to the “positivity wave” around here!

a dog and a fan

IN-N-OUT! IN-N-OUT!
That’s What a Hamburger’s All About!

If you live in or have visited California, you know!
IN-N-OUT was a frequent dating destination for my high school crowd back in the day.
Now, every trip to IN-N-OUT is a trip down nostalgia lane for me!
Have you enjoyed an IN-N-OUT burger and fries?

in n out burger

Family Parties!

The longer I live, the more special family parties become!
Bio family and/or found family ….. draw a wider circle!
Heading to a family party tomorrow!

Rogers family quote

family quote

Spiritual!

Think on these things!

think-of-these-things-3.jpg



QOTD: What are you feeling Positive about today? 



Meet Me in Monaco: A Review

September 6, 2019

Meet Me in Monaco
by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Meet Me in Monaco Review

Genre/Categories: Romantic Historical Fiction

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Grace Kelly, Hollywood actress, and Prince Rainier of Monaco meet in the 1950s at the Cannes Film Festival, and their story is the backdrop of this imagined love story of a perfumer, Sophie Duval, and a British press photographer, James Henderson. As Sophie develops an exclusive perfume for Grace Kelly and James is an assigned photographer, the wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainer is the setting for the bittersweet and sometimes star-crossed romance of Sophie and James.

The subtitle needs some explanation in that this is a story INSPIRED by the Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier wedding; the wedding is simply a backdrop and not the primary story.

Early Amazon Rating (September): 4.7 Stars

My Thoughts:

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Summer’s One “Must Read” Book- ReBlog

It’s not too late for one more great read before the fall reading season!

Reading Ladies

July 16, 2019

Find Your One “Must Read” Book of the Summer!

One Great Summer Read

Are you pondering what book to pack for your vacation?

Are you in limbo trying to decide what ONE great book to read this summer?

Do you ever wish someone would just TELL you what book to read?

Are you looking for a list of trusted book review bloggers?

Do you spend more time thinking about which book to pack for your vacation than packing the clothes? (oh…just me?)

If you only have time to read ONE more book before summer’s end, what would you choose?

beach reads cartoon

This is the time of year when readers look for “beach reads.” This term is puzzling to me because I think any book you read at the beach is a beach read (similar to any body at the beach is a beach body!). Furthermore, “beach read” means different things to different readers:…

View original post 2,579 more words

1st Line/1st Paragraph: If You Want To Make God Laugh

 September 3, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph: If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

I’m linking up this week with Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach who hosts a meme every Tuesday to share the First Chapter/First Paragraph of the book you are currently reading.

First Paragraph

I’m pleased to share a passage from a book that’s one of my highly anticipated fall reads: If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais. Have you read her previous book, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words?

 

From Amazon:

From the author of the beloved Hum If You Don’t Know the Words comes a rich, unforgettable story of three unique women in post-Apartheid South Africa who are brought together in their darkest time and discover the ways that love can transcend the strictest of boundaries.

In a squatter camp on the outskirts of Johannesburg, seventeen-year-old Zodwa lives in desperate poverty, under the shadowy threat of a civil war and a growing AIDS epidemic. Eight months pregnant, Zodwa carefully guards secrets that jeopardize her life.

Across the country, wealthy socialite Ruth appears to have everything her heart desires, but it’s what she can’t have that leads to her breakdown. Meanwhile, in Zaire, a disgraced former nun, Delilah, grapples with a past that refuses to stay buried. When these personal crises send both middle-aged women back to their rural hometown to heal, the discovery of an abandoned newborn baby upends everything, challenging their lifelong beliefs about race, motherhood, and the power of the past.

As the mystery surrounding the infant grows, the complicated lives of Zodwa, Ruth, and Delilah become inextricably linked. What follows is a mesmerizing look at family and identity that asks: How far will the human heart go to protect itself and the ones it loves?

 

If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

If You Want to Make God Laugh

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Family Life, Coming of Age, Post-Apartheid

1st Line/1st Paragraph From Chapter One:

Sterkfontein, Transvaal, South Africa 

“A thread of smoke snakes up into the cloudless sky and serves as Zodwa’s compass needle. She trails it until the sandy path dips suddenly, revealing a squat hut nestled in the grassland below. A woman sits waiting at the threshold. She’s hunched over like a question mark, her headdress of white beads partially obscuring her face. A leopard skin is draped over her shoulders and the sight of it reassures Zodwa; the gold-and-black-spotted pelt ibhayi signifies the nyanga is a healer of great power.

 

I’m eager to dive into this after enjoying Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by the same author. Here is my review of Hum.



QOTD:

Do you enjoy diverse reads?

Is If You Want To Make God Laugh on your TBR?



 Looking Ahead:

Return on Friday for my full review of Meet Me in Monaco
by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb.

Meet Me in Monaco



It’s Not Too Late To Read ONE More Great Book This Summer!

Summer’s ONE “Must-Read” Book

Check Out This List If You Are Choosing Books For A Book Club This Fall

Book Club Recommendations



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***Blogs 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 Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.