May Wrap Up

May 31, 2018

May Wrap Up

May Wrap Up

My intention with this blog is to bring you the BEST of what I’m reading and to use Goodreads for the total of what I’m reading. I’m committed to offering 4 & 5 star reviews for reading recommendations on the blog. My greatest fear is that you’ll see a cover in a book store (or Target!) and think “Oh, I saw that book on Reading Ladies!” and not remember that it was a book that I rated less than 4 or 5 stars and be disappointed with the read. So for me, it feels risky to post the entirety of my reading on the blog.

That being said….I’m following in the footsteps of other bloggers at month’s end and presenting all of my month’s reading along with my star ratings. Two of the seven titles I’ve reviewed on the blog and I’ll provide those links for you. There’s at least one more title that will receive a full feature review soon. (I actually read 8 books this month, but I’m not listing one because I can’t recommend it in any way even though I gave it 3 stars.)

Keep in mind that my 3 star reads have been rated higher by other readers, so check out the Amazon or Goodreads reviews.

The reading experience is subjective and I share my ratings knowing that if you’ve read the same selections, our opinions will vary greatly.

*Books listed in order by my star rating



Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
(full review coming soon)
Genre: Fiction (categories: music, inspirational, a touch of fantasy/folktale)
My Rating: 5 Stars
My Brief Thoughts: I loved the life story of Frankie and his musical talent told from Music’s perspective (including a touch of fantasy and folk tale)….thanks for the recommendation Patti Iverson! Look for my full review on the blog soon!
Recommended for music fans, for Mitch Albom fans, and for readers looking for a creative, well written, unique read.



the music shop

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce (previously reviewed here)
Genre: Fiction (categories: music, memorable characters)
My Rating: 5 Stars

My Brief Thoughts: In the spirit of A Man Called Ove, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and Britt-Marie Was Here, this is a poignant and heartfelt story of a quirky and lovable music shop owner who is dedicated to the preservation of vinyl and finds love and healing through music. (there is a playlist on Spotify to accompany the book) See my full review here.
Recommended for music lovers and for readers who appreciate quirky characters who struggle to create a better life for themselves.
*Language Alert



the way of beauty

The Way of Beauty by Camille Di Maio (previously reviewed here)
Genre: Historical Fiction (categories: family, romance, New York City, Penn Station, Suffragettes)
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
My Brief Thoughts: Set in New York City around historic Penn Station, this is a thoughtful and memorable story of family and romance told from two perspectives (mother and daughter). See my full review here.
Recommended for readers who appreciate multi-generational stories, for readers who love New York City, for those who love stories about strong independent women, and for those who like themes involving sacrifice, persistence, determination, romance, symbolic architecture, and the Suffragette Movement.



beneath a scarlet sky

Beneath a Scarlett Sky by Mark Sullivan
Genre: Historical Fiction (categories: WW11, Spain)
My Rating: 4 Stars (3 for writing quality, 5 for engaging)
My Brief Thoughts: This is an unputdownable story that explores WW11 from Spain’s perspective; the main character is compelling and brave and can cleverly think or maneuver his way out of any difficult situation.
Recommended for readers who like fast paced, page turners and who are looking for a compelling historical fiction read.



the vines we planted

The Vines We Planted by (debut author) Joanell Serra
Genre: Fiction (categories: family, romance, wine country)
My Brief Thoughts: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and all opinions are my own (my full review can be found on Goodreads). This fast paced story set in California’s wine country is packed with well drawn characters and many story lines and themes.
Recommended for readers who want an engaging read from the first paragraph, for those who appreciate a California wine country setting, and for fans of romance and family sagas.
*Language Alert



last train to istanbul

Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin
Genre: Historical Fiction (categories: WW11, Jewish, Turkey, France)
My Rating: 3 Stars
My Brief Thoughts: I often give 3 stars to reads that are OK but could have been better in some ways (3 stars are usually a mixed bag for me). Because I enjoy historical fiction, I appreciate the historical perspective of Turkey working earnestly to spirit its Jewish citizens out of France and away from the Gestapo; however, I have a few concerns. I felt like too many characters were introduced, too many story lines were left dangling, and it could have been better written (or perhaps better translated).
Recommended for readers who appreciate diverse reads by authors from another country and for fans of WW11 historical fiction and its various perspectives.



I am I am I am

I Am, I Am, I am by Maggie O’Farrell
Genre: Nonfiction (category: Memoir)
My Rating: 3 Stars
My Brief Thoughts: Three stars reads are a mixed bag for me. They are usually OK reads but could have been better for me in some ways. Even though I enjoy memoirs and Maggie O’Farrell is a gifted writer, I struggled with this read and skimmed many chapters. I probably attempted to plow through too much of the book in one sitting. I think it would have been better for me to read one chapter and then set it aside for the day.  Some of the chapters were more interesting to me than others, and some of the content caused me to ponder my own fears. Although I appreciate her creative structure and unique approach to a memoir, the chapters are not in chronological order and this began to bother me after a while because I lost track of what had happened before or after. My final take is that the content of this memoir was too heavy or discouraging for me and I started to feel anxious. If she had written something lighter or humorous in between the traumatic experiences, I think it would have been an easier read.
Recommended for readers who are fans of Maggie O’Farrell.



Happy Reading Bookworms!

“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



PBS: The Great American Read

How many books have you read of the hundred on the list? Which ones will you vote for? Were you surprised by any on the list? Do you plan to vote on your favorite reads? I’ve already voted once for Gone With the Wind!



Looking Ahead:

Come back tomorrow (Friday) when I’ll be discussing summer reading opportunities for children and families.

I started Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordana today. (It’s received mixed reviews so far.)

I’ll soon be reading Backman’s new release Us Against You……sequel to Beartown….. releasing 6/5).



Sharing is Caring

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



 Let’s Discuss!

I’d love to hear about your May reading in the comments.

Also, I’d love to hear your choices for The Great American Read sponsored by PBS.



***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. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

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 website.

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Music Shop

May 25, 2018

The Music Shop
by Rachel Joyce

the music shop

Genre/categories: Fiction, Friendship, Music

Summary:

Set in the 1980s on a run-down street in a forgotten suburb of London, there is a small indie music shop that is jam-packed with vinyl records of every kind. Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with the exact piece of music they never knew they needed, he welcomes the lonely, and he goes out of his way to help others. One ordinary day, a beautiful young woman in a green coat, Ilse Brauchmann, comes into his music shop and changes his life. Frank feels an attraction to her and yet he fears developing any closeness; in spite of his reservations, he begins to teach her about music and they develop a close friendship based on their common musical interests. Frank is terrified of his feelings for Ilse, yet he’s drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with eyes as black as vinyl. It’s complicated because Ilse has secrets and Frank has a past that haunts him. Readers find out about Frank’s life with his eccentric mother through flashbacks; however, Ilse remains mysterious. While Frank and Ilse contemplate the risks of a relationship, there are events in the community that threaten the livelihood of all the small, independent shops including Frank’s music shop. A further complication for Frank, is the growing popularity of cassette tapes and CDs while Frank cherishes the world of vinyl.

Themes:

Despite the probability of a relationship between Frank and Ilse, the main theme of the book explores healing more than romance. Other themes involve music appreciation as readers are treated to a variety of musical discussions; in addition, the theme of friendship is strong as readers meet loyal, delightful, memorable, and flawed characters. As a bonus, there is a spotify playlist for the music selections mentioned in the story so that you can listen as you read.     bit.ly/TheMusicShopPlaylist

Amazon Rating: 4.4 Stars  (*Language Alert)

May compelling character

Join the Link Up below.

Meet Frank, May’s Most Compelling Character

I have a soft spot in my heart for a quirky character who is overcoming a difficult and turbulent past and taking risks to create a better life. In the spirit of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, A Man Called Ove, and Britt-Marie Was Here, readers come to understand and love Frank. Through this gentle and heart-felt story, we notice that Frank has a gift of listening to each customer and recommending a perfect piece of music to touch that person’s soul. In spite of a fear of love and connection, we see that Frank has gained the love and support of the small community on Unity Street. On this aptly named street, these small, independent shop owners stick together, form a community, and care for one another in tough economic times and tragedies. Like many people who are busy loving their neighbors, Frank has difficulty accepting their love and attention in return. As with many independent store owners, he carefully provides personal service to each customer (paying or not). His greatest gift is the ability to listen, his greatest heartache is his devotion to and preservation of vinyl, and his greatest fear is having what he most wants, the love of mysterious Ilse.

Recommendation and Rating:

In this heartfelt story, Frank and Ilse take risks and the healing power of music and love is poignantly illustrated. This book may not be for everyone, but I loved it! Highly recommended for readers who love music, readers who appreciate quirky, flawed characters struggling to make a better life despite their past, and for readers who love memorable themes of healing, persistence, risk taking, loyalty, friendship, music appreciation, and community. I had it rated a solid 4 stars until the ending which had me in tears, and that’s when I knew this story had earned 5 stars. (*language alert)

Remember to listen to The Music Shop Playlist on Spotify as you read!  bit.ly/TheMusicShopPlaylist

My Rating: 5 romantic stars

twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-star

music shop

Buy Here

Meet the Author, Rachel Joyce

Rachel JoyceRachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Perfect. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and has been translated into thirty-six languages. Joyce was named the Specsavers National Book Awards “New Writer of the Year” in 2012. She is also the author of The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, The Music Shop, and the digital short story A Faraway Smell of Lemon and is the award-winning writer of more than thirty original afternoon plays and classic adaptations for BBC Radio 4. Rachel Joyce lives with her family in Gloucestershire.



May’s Most Memorable Character Link Up



 Happy Reading Bookworms!

“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



PBS: The Great American Read

How many books have you read of the hundred on the list? Which ones will you vote for? Were you surprised by any on the list? Do you plan to vote on your favorite reads? I’ve already voted once for Gone With the Wind!



Links I Love

Modern Mrs. Darcey: Summer Reading Guide (books by category)
*I linked to this list last week, but Anne Bogel (Modern Mrs. Darcey) has sorted the books on the list into categories which is helpful and interesting…..several titles on my summer TBR are from this list (and there are a few that I’m not reading based on descriptions).

The Novel Endeavor: Summer Reading Guide for Families: Fairy Tale Retellings

Perspective of a Writer: Passport to international Travel Through Reading (book recs to take you around the world!)



Looking Ahead:

Next week, I’ll be highlighting some summer recs for kids (while I’m reading Backman’s new release Us Against You……sequel to Beartown….. releasing 6/5).



Sharing is Caring

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



 Let’s Discuss!

I’d love to hear about the most memorable character from your May reading in the comments or in the link up above.

Also, please share what you’ve been reading lately and/or your thoughts about The Great American Read sponsored by PBS.



***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. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

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 website.

Summer Reading Season

May 18, 2018

summer reading

Summer TBR

As the summer reading season quickly approaches, it’s a perfect time to update TBRs! Honestly, I spend a great deal of time combing published lists and curating my TBR, and it’s a work in progress (more like a moving target to quote The Loud Library Lady) because I will delete and add titles depending on reviews and availability. For this list, I deliberately sought out recent releases, diverse reads, and women authors. If any of these reads earn a 4 or 5 star rating from me, you’ll see my review on the blog. Please don’t think I’m recommending everything on this list….I don’t end up loving every title I read…..what you read will depend on your preferences and preferred genres.

It’s OK to like different books!

One list that I always check for ideas is Modern Mrs Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide. (I’m not sure whether or not you need to register your email to access the list…if so, you can always unsubscribe). The books on her list don’t always align with my preferences (more than a few on this year’s list are heavier and/or darker than usual or not preferred genres so check the reviews carefully….I already found a couple from her list that I’ve scratched off and one that I started a few weeks ago and discarded onto the DNF shelf); nevertheless, I did find a handful of good titles to add to my summer TBR. What you might like about the MMD Summer Reading Guide is that these will most likely be the most talked about books this summer and show up on your local Target shelf. (By the way, I didn’t put the popular The Great Alone on my summer list because I’ve already read and reviewed it here. I recommend it for your summer reading if you haven’t already read it….*trigger warnings for some domestic abuse.)***I’m planning to come back to this list throughout the year and add updates as I read the selections.

***Edited to add: Naturally, the first book I read this summer wasn’t even on this list and I loved it: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto …. review here.

What’s on your summer reading list?



Here’s what’s ahead for me this summer on my TBR (in no particular order):
(Amazon links provided for summary and purchase information)

Force of NatureForce of Nature by Jane Harper
Genre: Crime Fiction
(stand alone….you do not have to have read The Dry before reading her second book). This title was on my Spring TBR and I’m still on the library wait list).
***Update: Solid read. 4 stars. Agent Falk continues as a main character in this atmospheric mystery set in the isolated woods of Australia, and I enjoyed it just as much as The Dry. Force of Nature Review Here.


the widows of malabar hillThe Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
(diverse read set in Bombay, India).
Genre: Mystery
*A bit nervous about this…it’s received mixed reviews.
***UPDATE: 3.5 Stars (rounded to 4 Stars on Goodreads). Full Review Here


a place for usA Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
(diverse read)
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Cultural Heritage/Family Life
Releases June 12, 2018.
***UPDATE: 5 Stars! Favorite book of the year so far. Full Review Here.


what we were promisedWhat We Were Promised by Lucy Tan
(diverse read)
Genre: Historical Fiction/Asian American
UPDATE: 2.5 Stars. Underwhelmed…although the cultural aspects were compelling. Goodreads Review Here.


ensembleThe Ensemble by Aja Gabel
Genre: Fiction (Music)
***UPDATE: 3.5 Stars. An OK read. Full Review Here.


how to walk awayHow to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Genre: Women’s Fiction


the boat peopleThe Boat People by Sharon Bala 
(Diverse read, Sri Lanka to Canada)
Genre: Historical Fiction/Cultural Heritage/Family Life
***UPDATE: 4 Stars. Relevant, compelling, compassionate, and fair. Full Review Here.


whiskey and ribbonsWhiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith
(diverse read)
Genre: African-American/Women’s Fiction/Family Life


not your perfect mexican daughterI Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez
(diverse read, Mexican American)
Genre: YA Fiction/Social and Family Issues
***UPDATE: I abandoned this at 30%….not the book for me….disappointing (others have loved it)


map of salt and starsThe Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar 
(diverse read, Syria)
Genre: Historical Fiction/Folk Tale
***UPDATE: 4.5 Stars. An engaging read and one of my favorite stories of the year. Full Review Here.


clock dance

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Domestic Life.
Releases July 10, 2018.
Although I’m not a huge Anne Tyler fan, I’m willing to give this a try (keeping it on my list until more reviews come in) because she’s a gifted writer.
***UPDATE: Pleasantly surprised by this quiet, character driven story. 3.5 Stars.
Full Review Here


convenience store womenConvenience Store Woman by  Sayaka Murata
(diverse read)
Genre: Fiction
Releases June 12, 2018.
This had me at “quirky.”
***UPDATE: This is a quick, easy read (one day or possibly one sitting). I enjoyed this engaging story about a convenience store worker in Japan and her unique challenges. It might not be for everyone, but I enjoy adore quirky characters. 4 stars. Full Review Here.


Auntie PoldiAuntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano
(diverse read)
Genre: Fiction/International Mystery
*Unsure about this one…it’s received mixed reviews.
***UPDATE: I finished it but it wasn’t a favorite read. 3 stars. Purely escapist, quirky characters, Italian culture, a mystery to solve, and a bit of romance. Although the writing is generally snappy, it’s a bit over the top for my taste. Goodreads review here.


I was anastasia

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical, Mystery
I’m on the fence about this one. Reviews are mixed. Just about the time I decide I’ll skip it, I’ll read a great review and then I have FOMO (fear of missing out)! So, I’m keeping this on the list for now.
***UPDATE: 3.5 Stars Full Review Here


queen of hearts

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Sisters/Mothers & Children
*Compared to Grey’s Anatomy (on the fence about this one)


Chick Lit

Honestly, light chick lit is a genre that I don’t usually love; however, multitudes of readers buy and enjoy light chick lit reads by the pool, next to the ocean, or while traveling during the summer. Because of FOMO (fear of missing out) and from time to time liking a palate cleanser in between heavier reads, I will (selectively) read chick lit. Two that I’m contemplating this summer, should the mood strike, are The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand (Releases June 19, 2018) and I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Maria de los Santos.

***UPDATE: Although The Perfect Couple is better than other books I’ve read by the author, the genre is not my cup of tea (although others love it). 2.5 Stars. Goodreads Review Here.
***UPDATE: I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is better written with more complexity than typical chick lit reads. Give this a chance! 4 star Goodreads Review Here.



By the way….

Any book you read at the beach is a beach read! (doesn’t have to be escapist)

Any book you read during the summer is a summer read! (doesn’t have to be light)

…and along the same train of thought….Any body wearing a swim suit is a beach body.



Winter and Spring TBR Update

I’m working toward reading the last two titles from my Winter and Spring TBR lists:

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff is the only title left to read from my Winter list (I think at this point it feels like it has a permanent home on my TBR).

I finished The Music Shop from my Spring list this week and I reviewed it here.

I removed Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr from my Spring list because I found out that it’s an older book (written before All the Light You Cannot See)….. I’ll keep it on my general Goodreads to-read-someday shelf, but I’m removing it from my intentional, active TBR. If I visit Rome some day, I may move it to a priority list!

Do you like to make and check off lists?! When I look at both book lists, it gives me a great feeling of accomplishment! Most of them were enjoyable reads and if you look at the Index tab, you will find most reviews (I don’t review books on the blog that I do not truly love). Of course, there’s always books I discover along the way that never make it onto my TBR; they get squeezed in.



Other Reading Lists
(I have not previewed or read titles from these lists)

Diverse Books Club Book List (list in chart form)

Diverse Book Club Summer Reading Guide (same list as above with brief descriptions)

Prose and Palate: What Prose and Palate is Reading This Summer

The Novel Endeavor: A Mother’s Day Gift Guide (a few days late but I saw it after I had already published my recs for Mother’s Day post)



Happy Reading Bookworms!

“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



Links I Love

Do you love books and food? Check out the next two links!

My bookish friend Rhonda from The Thankful Heart shares a lovely breakfast get together with bookish friends that would be so easy and fun to emulate!

The Thankful Heart: Books and Breakfast: A Morning With Friends

If bookish get togethers and food are your jam….you might enjoy perusing The Ardent Biblio’s Literary Dinner Events (inspiring, ambitious, and lovely dinners using a book’s inspiration):

The Ardent Biblio: Literary Dinners

If you live in Tornado Alley or in an area that experiences severe weather you might enjoy this unique book list of 5 books to read in a shelter during a tornado alert!

Julia Harmon Book Woman: Five Reasons to Read During Severe Weather (& 5 recommendations)

Little Women

Did you watch the recent PBS adaptation of “Little Women”? The following link is an enjoyable and thoughtful review:

Peace, Love, and Raspberry Cordial: 12 Little Musings On the New Little Women



In Case You Missed It…….Last Week’s Post Listing Bookish Gift Ideas For Mom



Looking Ahead:

Next week, I’ll be reviewing “The Music Shop” and offering a “Memorable Character of the Month” link up opportunity.

music shop

Summary and Purchase Information Here



I Can’t Help It!

Books I’m Already Looking Forward To For Fall 2018!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
Releases October 8

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan (C. S. Lewis)
Releases October 8

Kingdom of the Blind: An Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penney
Releases November 27

The Colors of All the Cattle: No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (#19) by Alexander McCall Smith
Releases November 6

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak (author of The Book Thief)
Releases October 9

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris 
Releases September 4



Sharing is Caring

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



 Let’s Discuss!

I’d love to hear about your summer TBR list!

Also, please share what you’ve been reading lately!



***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. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

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

A Rec For You, Mom!

May 11, 2018

mom and me mother's day

Here’s a book recommendation I think you’ll like, Mom!

Mom didn’t grow up loving to read, but she always made sure that her three girls were surrounded by library books and read to us when we were little. Mom admits that when she was in high school, she bribed her older sister to write her book reports. After graduation she went to business school in preparation for secretarial work. As a new wife and young mother, she had limited free time as most of her time was spent on labor intensive and time-consuming farm chores (in the days before our modern conveniences). Later when my father became a pastor, she spent her free evenings ironing his white shirts. Finally when her daughters were in high school and she went back to college, she began reading for her own pleasure. After she discovered the joy of reading and found herself with more free time, she was always in the middle of a book and today she reads all of my recommendations; in fact, we share an Amazon kindle account. In addition to a myriad of individual titles, we’ve read and loved the Louise Penny Inspector Gamache series and the Alexander McCall Smith #1 Ladies Detective series. Sharing books is a joy! It’s difficult for me to imagine a time in her life when she didn’t read.

I think you’ll like the title I’m recommending today, Mom!

The Way of Beauty
by Camille Di Maio

the way of beauty 2

Genre/categories: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Family, Romance, New York City, Penn Station

*Linking up today with Words on Wednesday. If you’ve clicked over from there, Welcome!

Summary:

As a child in the early 1900s in New York City, Vera Keller falls in love with a childhood friend who is nine years older than she. Through the years, they remain close. Although Angelo acts like her older brother, Vera is convinced that someday they will marry. One day she is shocked when he introduces her to his fiance, Pearl. Despite her heartbreak, Vera and Pearl become friends and Pearl introduces her to the Suffragette Movement. As Vera becomes entangled in their lives, her love for Angelo never dies. As a result of her love for Angelo and her commitment to Pearl’s cause, Vera has many challenges and difficult choices to make. The latter half of the book is told from Vera’s daughter’s perspective. Her daughter, Alice, enjoys benefits from the Suffragette Movement but also faces her own challenges in caring for her ailing father and in choosing between two men whom she loves. Early Amazon Star Rating (May): 4.8 Stars

My Thoughts:

Do you have fond memories of a certain landmark that you associate with a memorable event in your life? (For my husband and I, it’s In ‘N Out hamburger stands!) Are you old enough to have grieved the demise of certain landmarks or symbols? Have you ever remarked “Remember when…”? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you may find this story especially meaningful.

Although romance plays a large role in this story, there’s so much more. Readers gain historical insight into and appreciation for New York City’s historic Penn Station and for the daring and visionary women who led the Suffragette Movement. At the center of everything, there’s a sweet and heartfelt story of family and individual determination.

In addition to poignant themes of friendship, true love, family loyalty and support, hopes and dreams, class distinctions, privilege, strong and independent women, sacrifice, perseverance, progress, and preservation of the past, you will find lovable and memorable characters and an engaging story line.

Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction and multi generational stories, for those who love descriptive historical perspectives of the time period and architecture, for New Yorkers, and for readers who are looking for an engaging, captivating, unputdownable, and enjoyable read.

My Rating: 4 Stars

twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-star

I hope you enjoy this week’s recommendation, Mom!

mothers-day

candle for mom

 

the way of beauty

Buy Here

Meet the Author, Camille Di Maio

camille di maioCamille recently left an award-winning real estate career in San Antonio to become a full-time writer. Along with her husband of twenty years, she enjoys raising their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending, and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai’i to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far), and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, Paul McCartney, too. Camille studied political science in college, but found working on actual campaigns much more fun. She overdoses on goodies at farmers markets (justifying them by her support for local bakeries) and belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes. There’s almost nothing she wouldn’t try, so long as it doesn’t involve heights, roller skates, or anything illegal. “The Memory of Us” is Camille’s debut novel and is a finalist for the Holt Medallion Award for Literary Excellence. Her second, “Before the Rain Falls” was released in May 2017. Her third, “The Way of Beauty” is available now.



Happy Reading Bookworms!

“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



Links I Love

The Novel Endeavor: Books for Mom: A Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Love, Peace & Raspberry Cordial: Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter, and Me

A Lovely Photography Blog @ A Rosy Note

Recipes and thoughtful reflections from The Thankful Heart



In Case You Missed It…….Last Week’s Post Listing Bookish Gift Ideas For Mom



Looking Ahead:

Next week, I plan to talk about summer reading (in eager anticipation of Modern Mrs Darcy’s 2018 Summer Reading Guide to be released in a few days!). I’m also selecting something from my Spring TBR list to read (still waiting for library holds).



Sharing is Caring

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



 Let’s Discuss!

I’d love to hear about your memorable landmarks!

Also, please share what you’ve been reading lately!



Happy Mother’s Day to my followers who are celebrating! 

happy mothers day wreath

candle for mom



***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. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Bookish Gifts for Mom

May 4, 2018
(“May the 4th be with you!”)

mothers-day

Bookish Gift Ideas For Mom

If you’re fortunate to have your mom physically present with you this year and are looking for a bookish gift for Mother’s Day (or as a treat for your hard-working self!), check out my book and book related recs! The following titles represent some of my favorite reads (in addition to mostly recent releases, the list includes a few older titles as well). I’ve linked to my reviews as available….otherwise, I’ve provided Amazon links. If you have questions about any of the books, please ask in the comments and I’d be delighted to give you further information or perspective. Without knowing the person for whom you’re buying, the following recs are titles that are generally popular with lots of readers and the majority are written by women authors.
(I have avoided books that require trigger warnings)

*Linking up with Words on Wednesday. If you’ve clicked over from there, Welcome!

candle for mom



Light Histfic Reads: (easy reading, engaging, minimal or no violence)

my dear hamilton 2My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
(biographical histfic, U. S. history)

America's First Daughter

America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
(biographical histfic, U.S. History)

last christmas in paris

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
(epistolary format, WW1 time period)

As Bright as Heaven

As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner
(Spanish flu, mother/daughters)

Chilbury

Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan
(WW11)

Gilded Years

The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe
(biographical, first African-American woman to attend Vassar passing as white)

Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers

Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman
(WW11 time period, Hawaii)

The Other Alcott

The Other Alcott by Elise Hooper
(for fans of Little Women)

Guernsey

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
(epistolary format, post WW11)

News of the World

News of the World by Paulette Jiles
(post civil war, southwest U.S.)



Multi-generational Family Saga:

Eden

Eden by Jeanne Blasberg



Heavier Histfic (more intense  content, survival themes)

Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
(WW11)

From Sand and Ash

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
(WW11)

we were the lucky ones

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
(WW11)

Invention of Wings

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
(slavery, abolition)

Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
(WW11)

The Baker's Secret

The Baker’s Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan
(WW11)

Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
(China, adoption)

Pearl That Broke its Shell

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
(Afghanistan, women’s rights)

Homegoing

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
(slavery, multigenerational)



Romantic

How to find love in a bookstore

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

(“Last Christmas in Paris” also fits in this category)



Unique and Interesting Characters

Eleanor Oliphant

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

man called ove

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

one in a million boy

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

saving cecee honeycutt

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman



Memoir

Wait Till Next Year

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin
(baseball and so much more)

talking as fast as i can

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
(humor, for fans of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood)



True Crime

Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
(Crimes against Native American people)



Old Favorites

the hiding place

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
(WW11)

gift from the sea

Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
(inspirational)



Other Gift Ideas:

Give in Honor of Mom

Book Darts  $12

Carrot Top Paper Literary Artwork

The Novel Endeavor: Gift Giving Round Up for Book Lovers

Modern Mrs Darcy: Compulsively Readable Literary Fiction

GraceLaced Inspirational Watercolor Artwork

GraceLaced Inspirational Book at Hobby Lobby $14.99

Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader



Happy Reading & Gift Giving, Bookworms!

“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



Sharing is Caring

I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.



Let’s Discuss!

What are your favorite gifts for Mom?

What are you reading this week?



***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. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

April Wrap Up

April 30, 2018

April Wrap Up

April wrap up

My intention with this blog is to bring you the BEST of what I’m reading and to use Goodreads for the total of what I’m reading. I’m committed to offering 4 & 5 star reviews for reading recommendations on the blog. My greatest fear is that you’ll see a cover in a book store (or Target!) and think “Oh, I saw that book on Reading Ladies!” and not remember that it was a book that I rated less than 4 or 5 stars and be disappointed with the read. So for me, it feels risky to post the entirety of my reading on the blog.

That being said….I’m trying something new (for me) and following in the footsteps of other bloggers at month’s end and presenting all of my April reading along with my star ratings. Seven of the ten I’ve reviewed on the blog and I’ll provide that link for you. Keep in mind that my 2 & 3 star reads have been rated higher by other readers, so check out the Amazon or Goodreads reviews!

The reading experience is subjective and I share my ratings knowing that if you’ve read the same selections, our opinions will vary greatly.

(in order of my star ratings)

My Dear Hamilton (histfic) by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoi5+ stars

From Sand and Ash (histfic) by Amy Harmon  5 stars

Eden (family saga) by Jeanne Blasberg  4 stars 

Crenshaw (middle grade) by Katherine Applegat 4 stars

Rash (memoir) by Lisa Kusel  4 stars

White Rose, Black Forest (histfic) by Eoin Dempsey    3.5 stars

Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi Ever After (memoir) by Heather Harpham   3 stars

The Room on Rue Amelie by Kristin Harmel (histfic)  3 stars

Cafe By the Sea (chick lit) by Jenny Colgan  2.5  stars

Love Walked In (chick lit) by Maria de los Santos  2.5 stars

***The last two books are written by highly rated chick lit authors and have been enjoyed by many readers; however, it’s not my favorite genre (for Goodreads I did round them up to 3 stars).



Please share your April reads in the comments!



Happy Reading Bookworms!

“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



Looking Ahead:

Friday, I’ll be highlighting a few suggestions for Mother’s Day gifts.



Sharing is Caring

I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.



 Let’s Discuss!

I’d love to hear all about what you’ve read in April!