September Wrap Up

September 30, 2018

September Wrap Up

september wrap up

I read nine books this month (most of them 4 star reads!) and abandoned one.

 As always, I’m not recommending all these books. Please carefully notice my Star ratings. Generally 4 & 5 Stars are highly recommended.

Listed in order of my Star ratings:

where the crawdads sing

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Fiction/Family Life
5 Stars. Full Review Here.


virgil wander

Virgil Wander by Leif Enger
(author of Peace Like a River)
Literary Fiction/Magical Realism
4.5 Stars. Review Here.


just mercy

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Nonfiction/Legal/Memoir/Biographical
4 Stars. Full Review Here.


the lost girls of paris

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff
(author of The Orphan’s Tale)
WW11 Historical Fiction
4 Stars. GoodReads Review Here. Pub Date: 2/5/2019
(Free ARC in exchange for an honest review.)


lieutenant's nurse

The Lieutenant’s Nurse by Sara Ackerman
(author of Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers)
WW11 Historical Fiction
4 Stars. Review Here. Pub Date: 3/5/2019
(Free ARC in exchange for an honest review.)


hard cider

Hard Cider by Barbara Stark-Nemon
Women’s Fiction
4 Stars. Review Here.
(Free ARC in exchange for an honest review.)


dream daughter

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain
Science Fiction/Historical Fiction/Suspense/Family Drama
4 Stars. GoodReads Review Here. Pub Date: 10/2/2018
(Free ARC in exchange for an honest review.)


clock dance

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
Women’s Fiction
3.5 Stars. Full Review Here.


to the moon and back

To the Moon and Back by Karen Kingsbury
Christian Fiction/Family Life
2.5 Stars. Not Reviewed.



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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



My Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!



Looking Ahead:

I’m reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

tattooist of auschwitz



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

What have you been reading in September?



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

 

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Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

September 28, 2018

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

where the crawdads sing 2

Genre/Categories: Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction, Coming of Age, Family Life, Survival

Summary:

Living in the marsh outside a quiet, small town on the coast of North Carolina, Kya Clark, later known as the “Marsh Girl,” is abandoned by her entire family and learns to survive in the marsh on her own from the age of ten. One by one her older siblings abandon the family, her mother leaves when Kya is about seven, and finally her father, a difficult, unreliable, and drunk man, leaves when she’s ten. Kya attends school for one day after a truant officer catches her. On that day, she is teased by the students, knows she’s hopelessly behind academically, and never returns. Preferring the isolation and safety of the marsh, she learns what she can through observing nature. Although she can survive on her own, she begins to long for companionship as she reaches her teen years. Two boys from town attract her attention. One of them turns up dead, and she is suspected of murder. The other becomes a life long supporter and friend. A coming of age story with a fair share of tragedy, mystery, and grit, this is an unforgettable read you’ll want to devour and recommend.

Amazon Rating: 4.8 Stars

My Thoughts:

While I loved Where the Crawdads Sing, this story might not be for everyone and comes with trigger warnings for some child neglect and abandonment.

What I loved most about the story is its structure and style. It is atmospheric and engaging from the first page to the last. In addition, it’s an easy reading narrative that flows well and is pleasingly balanced between character driven and plot driven. The author creates an amazing sense of place and a memorable and unforgettable character. As a bonus, the author’s background as a wildlife scientist enables her to include many fascinating scientific facts and details about the marsh.

This story came to me at the right time as I was in the mood for an intriguing, well written, page turner, and Where the Crawdads Sing did not disappoint! It will most likely appear on my best of 2018 list.

Along with an emphasis on science and the marsh habitat, the author creates vivid and colorful local characters that enhance the story and includes a surprising plot twist at the end!

compelling character

Kya Clark is certainly September’s most compelling character. Resourceful, brave, cunning, a gritty survivor, and clever, Kya creates a life for herself despite the most difficult and disheartening circumstances. There is a person in town that she learns to trust and who becomes as important to her as a father. He watches out for her the best that he can which is difficult because he’s African-American and is dealing with issues of hate and segregation in his own life. He understands Kya and respects her freedom and her need to live her life on her terms even though she’s so young. Despite Kya’s ability to create a life for herself as a wildlife artist and illustrator and is eventually able to trust herself to love, there is a plot twist at the end that will force you to reevaluate Kya and the decisions she’s made.

Themes in the story include belonging, abandonment, survival, trust, coming of age, family, and caring for others. There’s a great deal to reflect on or to discuss (if this is a book club pick) as the story unfolds.

Recommended for readers who are looking for an engaging and unique story with a strong female protagonist. It would make an excellent book club selection because of the various discussion possibilities. *Triggers for child neglect and abandonment.

If you have a blog post about your most memorable character of the month, please use the link below or share in the comments.

My Rating 5 Stars

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where the crawdads sing

Buy Here

Meet the Author, Delia Owens

delia owensDelia Owens is the co-author of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa including Cry of the Kalahari.

She has won the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing and has been published in NatureThe African Journal of Ecology, and many others.

She currently lives in Idaho. Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel.



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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



My Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!



Looking Ahead:

This week I’m reading an ARC of The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain (pub date: 10/2). It’s different from my usual genres: heavy on science fiction (time travel), a bit of hisfic (as the characters travel between 1970 and 2018), and some suspense. I would characterize this as an escapist read! Full review coming soon.

dream daughter

I’m also ready to begin The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris because my library hold came in. (taking a deep breath for this heavy read)

tattooist of auschwitz



A Link I Love

Books to movies this fall.



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

What have you been reading in September? Who is your most memorable or unforgettable character from your recent reading? (link up a blog post or share in comments)



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

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

September 21, 2018

3 arcs

For today’s post, I have reviews of three ARCS (advanced readers copies) that I’ve read recently. Thank you to #NetGalley #ackermanbooks #harpercollins #atlanticmonthlypress #shewritespress for the free advance copies of #hardcider #virgilwander and #thelieutenantsnurse in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Reviews listed in order of release date.

hard ciderHard Cider by Barbara Stark-Nemon

Have you faithfully cared for your family, enjoyed a fulfilling career, and now your nest is empty? Is it finally time to focus on something for YOU? Is this the time to realize YOUR lifelong dream? To pursue YOUR goals?

Meet Abbie Rose Stone: a retired teacher, a creative, supportive, understanding, and seasoned mom, a loyal, attentive, and caring wife, a hard worker and an ambitious dreamer.

Is it possible for Abbie Rose who has enjoyed raising three children, trying her best to meet their unique challenges and understand their different needs and personalities, to follow her heart and establish her own hard cider business without her husband’s or children’s full support? Just as Abbie Rose finds the courage to make her decision, a stranger presents information that will affect her family’s future and complicate their lives.

When is it a good time for Abbie Rose to pursue her dreams?

Barbara Stark-Nemon creates the memorable character of Abbie Rose, provides an exquisite sense of place as readers can easily envision life along the northern shores of Lake Michigan, pulls us into complicated family dynamics, and describes what the production of hard cider involves.

Readers will appreciate strong and thoughtful themes including infertility, adoption, determination, persistence, compassion, parenting adult children, mature marriage, following a dream, and drawing a wider circle.

The story lines that most affect me include how a woman manages to follow her dream while continuing to creatively and thoughtfully handle complex family issues, how adoption affects children and families, and how compassion and acceptance allow us to draw a wider circle of inclusiveness. One story line I couldn’t relate to is the guidance that Abbie Rose seeks from the Tarot Card reader because I look to God for my spiritual guidance. However, this is a small aspect of the story.

Recommended for readers who are fans of beautifully written stories filled with family dynamics, for those who enjoy an inspirational and motivational story of a woman following her dreams while also caring for her family, for readers who are familiar with the northern shores of Lake Michigan, and for readers of women’s contemporary fiction.

Publication Date: September 18, 2018

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

My Star Rating: 4 Stars



virgil wanderVirgil Wander by Leif Enger (author of Peace Like a River)

Kite flying … nostalgic film references … film reels …. small town independent theaters …. Lake Superior …. a midwest town down on its luck …. quirky characters …. splashes of humor … and a touch of magical realism make Virgil Wander a remarkable and memorable story.

Leif Enger’s devoted fans have long anticipated his new release, Virgil Wander, as it’s been several years since Enger’s well-known 2002 title, Peace Like a River. Enger is an exquisite writer, and he fills this well written, quiet, character driven story with an eclectic mix of quirky characters and an astounding assortment of vocabulary (a great deal of which I had to look up!). Since I’m a fast reader, I had to slow my pace in order to savor the writing and ponder the phrases. Virgil Wander is not a book to power through. Because every sentence is packed with meaning, I found that it worked best for me to read it in chunks and then set it aside for an hour or an evening and pick it up fresh.

Enger creates an amazing sense of place as readers are introduced to a small, upper midwestern town on the shores of Lake Superior, north of Duluth, Minnesota as well as its various, colorful characters. The town, Greenstone, and the main character, Virgil Wander, are both struggling. Greenstone is on the decline and has experienced so much tough luck that it eventually creates a festival called “Hard Luck Days.” The story opens one snowy afternoon with Virgil’s rescue after he drives accidentally (?) off a cliff and submerges his car into Lake Superior. Virgil, surviving with a mild brain injury, returns to his former life feeling like a tenant and lives above the decrepit Empress theater which he owns and manages. Virgil’s life begins to change when Rune, a friendly Norwegian man, comes to town with his creative and extravagant kites. He has “a hundred merry crinkles at his eyes and a long-haul sadness in his shoulders.” Rune seeks to reconcile his grief over a son he never knew who has mysteriously disappeared while Virgil attempts to regain his memory, his equilibrium, and his vocabulary, and suffers silently with romantic feelings towards Rune’s son’s beautiful widow, Nadine. Rune and Virgil become friends and affect some positive changes in the town and help many of the town folk. Virgil finds joy in flying Rune’s kites:

“As a kid I’d enjoyed kites, but only in the usual way of kids, losing interest once they were airborne and manageable. Now I thought of flying daily, hourly. I didn’t hold the string so much as comb it, and once flying I felt small and unencumbered, as if the moving sky were home and I’d been misplaced down here. Maybe I wanted the broad reach, as Lou Chandler had said. That great wide open.”

Many sentimental moments involve Rune and Virgil rewatching old classic movies at the Empress theater, also providing an accepting and comforting gathering place for an assortment of their friends. There are too many sub plots to address in a review, but many of the story lines involve the reinvention of the town and Virgil.

A masterful writer, Enger includes themes such as loss, rebuilding a life (and a town), taking a risk (“[The kite] broke the line and caught the next gust out of town. A perilous beautiful move, choosing to throw yourself at the future, even if it means one day coming down in the sea.”), friendship, finding yourself (“For a man named Wander I’d spent a long time in one place.”), family, love, community, and drawing a wider circle (“Your tribe is always bigger than you think.”). Greenstone, the town’s name, is symbolic and thematic, too: (Wikipedia) “Greenstone is the state gem of Michigan, found along Lake Superior. It is a mineral found in basalt, a volcanic rock. The Ely greenstone found in MN is basalt that has been metamorphosed; that is, volcanic rock which under pressure has been changed into a new form.”

Recommended for fans of literary fiction and for fans of sentences like these:

“This he stated in a flattened voice like a wall build hastily to conceal ruins.”

or

“He had the heartening build of the aging athlete defeated by pastry.”

Recommended for readers who love character driven stories, important themes, and the insightful descriptions of ordinary people and their circumstances, for all who are searching for thoughtful content, for vocabulary enthusiasts, and, of course, for devoted fans of Peace Like a River.

Publication Date: October 2, 2018

Genre/Categories: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Small Town, Rural

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars



lieutenant's nurseThe Lieutenant’s Nurse by Sara Ackerman (author of Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers…full review here)

Pearl Harbor … war … romance … intrigue … cover ups … friendship … heroic nurses are elements that make this a memorable story.

November, 1941 finds Eva Cassidy, a newly enlisted Army Corps nurse, on board the steamship SS Lurline on her way to her first assignment in Hawaii. Even though she’s engaged and her fiance is waiting for her in Hawaii, her voyage holds an interesting distraction: Lt. Clark Spencer, a handsome navy intelligence officer. Complications arise as Eva and Clark are drawn to each other and Eva desperately hides a secret from her past. Later, amidst the chaos of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Eva courageously bands together with her fellow nurses to tend to the American wounded, reconnects with Lt. Spencer, and is faced with questions of whom to trust and a desire to protect the ones she loves.

During the voyage to Hawaii, the story quietly builds as readers become acquainted with portions of Eva’s back story and make the acquaintance of Lt. Clark Spencer. Upon arrival at the island, the story picks up the pace as Pearl Harbor is bombed, medical personnel scramble to save lives, and there are rumors of a government cover up. This is the most engaging part of the story. I appreciate a good page turner and this aspect of the story delivers!

Readers cheer for Eva, a determined, adventurous, and independent woman, as she begins a new career as an army nurse, grapples with her past, feels responsibility for her polio stricken sister, bravely asserts herself into the medical crisis at Pearl Harbor, finds courage to state her opinions to authoritarian doctors, defends the man she truly loves, confronts danger, and embraces her intuition that recovering soldiers could benefit from a therapy dog.

Recommended for fans of Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers, for readers who are interested in the fictionalized account of the attack on Pearl Harbor, for medical professionals who might be interested in the nursing aspect of the story, and for those looking for an engaging histfic read.

Publication Date: March 5, 2019

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, Women’s Fiction

Star Rating: 4 Stars



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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



My Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!



Looking Ahead:

I’m thrilled to be reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and eager to bring my review next week. (*Spoiler: I’m almost certain it will earn a place on my best of 2018 list)

where the crawdads sing



A Link I Love

Are you a Minimalist?
Novels and NonFiction: Titles I Found Most Helpful In My Minimalist Journey



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

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.

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.

Fall Reading Season

September 18, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR

top ten tuesday

Today I’m linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR. and Top Ten Books By My Favorite Authors I Intend To Read (eight of the authors on my Fall TBR fit this category of authors whose new books I intend to read). If you’ve clicked over from That Artsy Reader Girl, Welcome!

Fall Reading Season

***As the fall reason season progresses. I’ll add updates here as I read the books***

Welcome to my ambitious list for fall reading! (as usual I couldn’t narrow it to 10!)
*Listed in no particular order*

pumpkins

Maple-leaf1

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton (release date: 10/9)
I’ve read some mixed review on this, but I’m a loyal Kate Morton fan so I’m eager to give it a try.
***UPDATE: 4 Stars. Full Review Here.

Maple-leaf1

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan (release date: 10/2)
***UPDATE: 4.5 Stars. Full Review Here.

Maple-leaf1

The Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny (installment #14 in The Inspector Gamache Three Pines series…they get better and better) (release date: 11/27)
You know what I’ll be doing in lieu of on-line Christmas shopping!

Maple-leaf1

The Color of All the Cattle by Alexander McCall Smith (installment #19 of No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series) (release date: 11/6)
A comfortable read with old friends!

Maple-leaf1

Bridge of Clay by Marcus Zusak (author of The Book Thief) (release date: 10/9)
***UPDATE: 2 Stars. A disappointing read. I’m not recommending this. Brief Goodreads Review Here.

Maple-leaf1

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (debut author) (pub date: 8/14)
I’ve read almost all glowing reviews of this one! It’s my most anticipated fall read which I’ll be reading and reviewing soon because my library hold just became available!
***Update: 5 Stars. Unforgettable character. (Full Review Here)

Maple-leaf1

Virgil Wander by Leif Enger (author of Peace Like a River) (release date: 10/2)
***UPDATE: 4.5 Stars A memorable read. Brief Review Here.

Maple-leaf1

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor  (co author of Last Christmas in Paris…one of my favorites this year) (release date: 10/9)
***UPDATE: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 stars on Goodreads). Hazel Gaylor does it again! I loved this story. Full Review Here.

Maple-leaf1

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce
(pub date 7/3)

Maple-leaf1

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
(I’ve read some mixed reviews on this one….histfic is my fav genre so I’ll see for myself) (pub date: 9/4)
***UPDATE: 4 Stars. Memorable and compelling. Full Review Here.

Maple-leaf1

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo  (Newbery Award author) (release date 10/2)
Occasionally, I enjoy a great Middle Grade read! Looking forward to this one!
***UPDATE: 4.5 Stars. Memorable and unforgettable. Brief Review Here (scroll down page).

Maple-leaf1

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff (author of The Orphan’s Tale) (release date 2/5/19)
This should be on my winter TBR except that I recently received an ARC (advanced reader copy from NetGalley/Park Row Books), so I’ll be reading and reviewing this in the fall.
***UPDATE: 4 Stars. Goodreads Review Here.

Maple-leaf1



I have three unread books from my Summer TBR …. I’m not sure if I’ll add them to my Fall TBR list or put them back on my general Goodreads To Be Read  (at some time) shelf.



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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

Maple-leaf1



Looking Ahead:

I’ve recently finished reading three ARCs (advanced reader copies) of The Lieutenant’s Nurse by Sara Ackerman and Virgil Wander by Leif Enger (author of Peace Like a River) and Hard Cider by Barbara Stark-Nemon. Look for my reviews of all three on Friday’s blog post.

lieutenant's nurse

virgil wander

hard cider



A Link I Love

Compassion for children with disabilities and their families.
Check out this opportunity to be a blessing to others: The Lucas Project (respite care for caregivers and siblings).

The back story of the Lucas Project. Follow Jess Ronne on Instagram @jessplusthemess



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.

Maple-leaf1



 Let’s Discuss

Which book are you looking forward to reading most in fall? Do you plan your fall reading? Which books are on your list?

Maple-leaf1



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

Review: Just Mercy

September 14, 2018

An inspirational memoir of courage ….. determination ….. vision …..

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

just mercy 2

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, African-American, Judicial System, Criminal Procedure, Politics and Social Sciences

Summary:

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Seattle Times • Esquire • Time

In this compelling and engaging memoir, Bryan Stevenson shares true stories about founding the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice established to defend those most desperate and in need (the underrepresented, poor, wrongly condemned, women, and youth trapped for life in the criminal justice system). In addition to detailing his experience as a young lawyer confronting political machines, fighting prejudice, and accepting challenging cases, Stevenson thinks deeply about mercy, true justice, and compassion.

Listen to Bryan Stevenson summarize his ideas in his own words: Bryan Stevenson Ted Talk

Just Mercy movie: filming in Montgomery.

Amazon Rating (September): 4.8

My Thoughts:

Compelling. Just Mercy is a compelling and engaging read in that I love to read about real people and their life work. Even though some of the legal jargon and proceedings went over my head, I was mesmerized by the overall story of Bryan Stevenson and his lifelong passion for championing the legal defense of the most underrepresented and most desperate prisoners. Despite great personal hardship, he persisted.

Controversial. Some readers might feel they need to agree with everything an author writes to read the work. Sometimes, I feel that way if it’s a topic that I have strong feelings about and am committed to my position. Other times, as in this case, it’s thought-provoking to see issues from an involved person’s perspective (especially from an authentic voice) and to consider issues that don’t usually affect my life.

Memorable. I have the highest admiration for Bryan Stevenson and others like him who have sacrificed and served in areas in which I’m incapable of affecting change. The only thing I can do from the sidelines is to listen and cheer him on.

Thoughtful Quote. Although a difficult read on many levels, Just Mercy is one of those books I can say I’m glad I’ve read. I appreciated the focus on children who commit crimes (not to excuse them but to bring compassion and understanding into the situation):

“When these basic deficits that burden all children are combined with the environments that some poor children experience–environments marked by abuse, violence, dysfunction, neglect, and the absence of a loving caretaker–adolescence can leave kids vulnerable to the sort of extremely poor decision making that results in violence.”

As a teacher, this quote reminds me of how important mental health services and intervention programs are to all school children (especially starting with elementary aged children).

Recommended. Even though Just Mercy has been on the best seller list for a couple of years, it’s a worthy read I’m urging you not to miss. Recommended for readers who are interested in social justice, for those serving in legal or social services professions, for readers who enjoy books about current issues (such as incarceration rates of African-American youth, the death penalty, etc.), and for all who enjoy reading issue-centered books about thought-provoking topics from an insider’s perspective and an authentic voice. Bryan Stevenson is someone I’d like you to meet because he is an influential, courageous, inspirational, determined, and visionary person that will be celebrated, respected, and honored for years to come.

My Rating: 4 Stars

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just-mercy.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buy Here

Meet the Author, Bryan Stevenson

bryan stevensonBryan Stevenson is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and a professor of law at New York University Law School. He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. He has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.

Bryan Stevenson Ted Talk

Just Mercy movie in the works

Bryan Stevenson Wikipedia



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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



My Summer TBR

I’ll be updating my Summer TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!
(So far I’ve read all but three on the list, some I’ve been more thrilled with than others, and I’ve only abandoned one)



Looking Ahead:

This week I’m reading two ARCs (advanced reader copies) of The Lieutenant’s Nurse by Sara Ackerman and Virgil Wander by Leif Enger (author of Peace Like a River). I’m planning an extra blog post soon highlighting three recently read ARCS.

lieutenant's nurse

virgil wander



A Link I Love

Are you a fan of the Enneagram types or Winnie the Pooh? Check out this post that explores the Enneagram type of each character in the Hundred Acre Wood:  Kendra Nicole: My World In Reviews: The Enneagram in the Hundred Acre Wood.



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

Do you enjoy issue-centered, thought-provoking memoirs? Have you read Just Mercy?
(kind and considerate comments are appreciated….others will be deleted or not approved)

Are you looking ahead to fall reading? I have quite a fall TBR list that I’m eager to share with you next Tuesday for Top Ten Tuesday!



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

 

 

 

 

Review: Clock Dance

September 7, 2018

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

clock dance 2

Genre/Categories: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Life

Summary:

In Clock Dance, Anne Tyler provides a compelling characterization of Willa Drake from a childhood with an unpredictable mother, to her college years and engagement, to her later years as a young widow rebuilding her life, and, finally, to her senior years which find her longing for attachment, family, and a place to belong. In this bittersweet journey, readers root for Willa as she experiences grief, renewed hope, and new direction for her life.

Amazon Rating (September): 3.8 Stars

My Thoughts:

Background. Sometimes it helps to go into a read with low expectations. I had read only two of Tyler’s works before this and I was left underwhelmed. Even though Anne Tyler masterfully creates well drawn characters and is well-known for her beautiful, nuanced writing, I need a bit of a plot to keep me engaged.

Because I admire Tyler’s writing and one of my favorite literary reviewers (Modern Mrs. Darcy) recommended this book on her Summer Reading Guide, I decided to give it a try…but with low expectations.

Surprise. It was a pleasant surprise to find myself engaged with this quiet, bittersweet story of an ordinary woman’s life. I was able to relate to her on several levels and the author provided just enough plot to keep me reading.

Read Alike. In some respects this story reminds me of Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman. If you’ve read both, please let me know what you think of this comparison! One difference is that, for me, the resolution is more satisfying in Clock Dance than it is in Britt-Marie.

Connections. Reading is a personal experience and the ability to make some connection with a character or a situation makes all the difference! That’s why I always encourage readers to give books a try for her- or himself. I’m glad I gave this a chance!

Recommended. Although there are mixed reviews of this book and it’s not one I recommend for everyone, it’s one that I recommend trying if you love beautiful, nuanced writing and well drawn characters. Readers who appreciate a quiet story of an ordinary woman finding her voice might appreciate this. Also recommended for fans of Britt-Marie Was Here.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars (rounded to 4 stars on Goodreads)

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clock dance

Buy Here

Meet the Author, Anne Tyler

Anne TylerAnne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is the author of more than twenty novels. Her twentieth novel, A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD, was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2015. Her eleventh novel, BREATHING LESSONS, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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



My Summer TBR

I’ll be updating my Summer TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!
(So far I’ve read all but three on the list, some I’ve been more thrilled with than others, and I’ve only abandoned one)



Looking Ahead:

This week I plan to finish Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and bring you a review next Friday.

just mercy

Amazon Information Here



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

Do you enjoy quiet, character driven stories? What are some that you’ve read and enjoyed? Are you a fan of Anne Tyler? Do you have favorite books by her?

Are you looking ahead to fall reading? I have quite a fall TBR list that I’m eager to share with you!



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

August Wrap Up

August 31, 2018

August Wrap Up

August Wrap Up

Zero books were rated 5 star reads this month, but The Map of Salt and Stars came close and I consider it my best read of the month.

These Wrap Up posts are published with some trepidation because I’m concerned you might think that I’m recommending all these books. Please carefully notice my Star Ratings. Generally, I can confidently recommend 4 or 5 star reads, and I usually consider 3 star reads OK.

I’ve listed my August reads in order by my Star Ranking and my level of enjoyment. Titles are Amazon affiliate links and review links (blog or Goodreads) are also provided.

As always it’s OK to disagree! You might see a favorite that I’ve awarded 2 Stars or I might have rated a book high that you disliked…..Reading is a personal experience and each book makes a unique connection with the reader. Take my star ratings as simply one opinion.

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhader
4.5 Stars
(best read of the month)
Full Review Here


The Boat People by Sharon Bala
4 Stars
Full Review Here


Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan
4 Stars
Full Review Here


I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon
3.5 Stars
Full Review Here


Lucy’s Little Village Book Club by Emma Davies
3 Stars
Brief Goodreads Review Here


The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
3 Stars
(not reviewed)


What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan
2.5 Stars
Goodreads Review Here


The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
2.5 Stars
Brief Goodreads Review Here



summer

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



summer reading

My Summer TBR

I’ll be updating my Summer TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!
(So far I’ve read a good portion of the list (crossing off one more next week), some I’ve been more thrilled with than others, and I’ve only abandoned one)



Looking Ahead:

Next Friday, I hope to bring you a review of Anne Tyler’s Clock Dance.

clock dance

Amazon Information Here



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

What were your best reads of the month?

Are you looking ahead to fall reading? I have compiled a fall TBR list that I’m eager to share with you in September!



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