1st Line/1st Paragraph

May 21, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph

I’m linking up today 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 the first line and first paragraph of On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (Young Adult). I’ve read a few great reviews, and I’m eager to bring you my full review soon. If you read The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas, you might appreciate this new release!

From Amazon: Insightful, unflinching, and full of heart, On the Come Up is an ode to hip hop from one of the most influential literary voices of a generation. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; and about how, especially for young black people, freedom of speech isn’t always free.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

On the Come Up

Genre/Categories: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Music, Poverty, Homelessness, Racism, Prejudice

1st Line/1st Paragraph:

I might have to kill somebody tonight.

It could be somebody I know. It could be a stranger. It could be somebody who’s never battled before. It could be somebody who’s a pro at it. It doesn’t matter how many punch lines they spit or how nice their flow is. I’ll have to kill them.

This first paragraph sounds dire and extreme, and I might jump to conclusions that the character is literally speaking of murder. However, Brianna’s actually thinking about her chance to prove herself at a neighborhood rap contest tonight. This might be her big chance.

I’ve read Chapter One, and I’m eager to continue the story and trust Angie Thomas that On The Come Up will be gritty, relevant, and thought-provoking.



QOTD: Are you intrigued? Have you read The Hate You Give?

Here is my full review of The Hate You Give.



Looking Ahead:

Come back Friday for my review of The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister, one of my favorite reads of the year so far!

The Scent Keeper



Sharing is Caring

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

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***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.

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Paper Hearts: A Review

May 21, 2019

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott

Paper Hearts Review

Genre/Categories: WW11, Holocaust, Jewish, Young Adult, Poetry, Friendship, Survival

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

In Paper Hearts, two unforgettable girls find themselves tragically imprisoned at Auschwitz during the Holocaust and become friends. Through the bonds of friendship and a bit of defiance, Zlatka and Fania find bits of hope and a will to live. In this true story, Zlatka, along with the help of a few other girls, masterminds making a surprise birthday card for Fania. A secret project that would be a crime punishable by death if caught, each girl signed the paper hearts card with her hopes and wishes for happiness, love, and freedom. This heart is a symbol of defiance and is one of the few artifacts created in Auschwitz that has survived and can be seen today in the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre in Canada. (see an article link and image below)

My Thoughts:

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Ask Again, Yes: A Review

May 17, 2019

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Ask Again Yes Review

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Family Drama

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Beautifully written, Ask Again, Yes introduces us to two families who live next door to each other. Behind closed doors, the families deal with complicated issues. Meanwhile, two of their children, born six months apart, grow up as each other’s constant and best playmate and develop a deep friendship as they hang out after school. Just as Kate and Peter grow old enough to discover they might be attracted to each other, a tragic event happens that changes everything for the two families. One family moves away and the children’s friendship is torn apart.

The remainder of the story involves the children, who are now grown, coming to terms with what happened and figuring out what this means for their relationship, their families, and their future.

My Thoughts:

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1st Line/1st Chapter

May 7, 2019

1st Line/1st Chapter

I’m linking up today 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 the first line and first full chapter of Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott (mature Middle Grade/Young Adult/Adult). I’ve read a few great reviews, and I’m eager to bring you my full review soon. If you appreciate free verse, you might love this!

From Goodreads: Paper Hearts is the story of survival, defiance, and friendship. Based on historical events about a group of girls who were slave laborers at the munitions factory in Auschwitz.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

Paper Hearts 2

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, Holocaust, Survival, Poetry

1st Line/1st Chapter:

Through the village
once loved.
Eyes lowered
not shamed
footsteps steady
not faster
or slower
than before.

Ignored jeers.
Ignored curses,
Brudny Żyd!
Dirty Jew!
The clump of mud
thrown by Oleg Broz
who’d gone to the same school as
me
whose father worked at the
same bank as me.

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Blogger Recognition Award

May 13, 2019

I’ve Been Nominated For The Blogger Recognition Award!

Blogger Recognition Award

I’ve been nominated! It makes my day to be nominated for an award! Bloggers work hard to bring their followers consistent, inspiring, and relevant posts, and although it’s thrilling when followers leave likes and comments, it’s extra thrilling when fellow bloggers recognize and shout out your efforts.

It’s with a full heart that I shout out a huge thank you to Amanda at The Lexington Bookie for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award. As well as answering the questions, this is a great opportunity for me to share a few extraordinary bloggers with you.

Blogger Recognition Award Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger for nominating you and give the link to their blog.
  2. Write a blog post on your website showing the award.
  3. Describe the story of why you started your blog.
  4. Write two pieces of advice you have for new bloggers.
  5. Nominate 10 more bloggers.
  6. Notify each of your nominees that you have nominated them.

Why I Started Blogging:

When I first contemplated retirement from my teaching career, I knew I would need to channel that passion and energy. I needed something I could jump right into that would help ease the bittersweet sting of retirement. I started by thinking about my interests and skills: I am a voracious reader, I love searching out and recommending the best books (especially histfic), I love to read new releases, I love to write, I often annoy others by oversharing my great reads with anyone who will listen, I am not intimidated by technology, (teaching required learning new technology and before my teaching career I dabbled in graphic design), and I was already an avid reader of various blogs. During the last week of teaching, I drove home each night dreaming and scheming about creating my own space on the world wide web to share my love of reading and great books. On the last day of teaching (June 17), I hunkered down with a yellow pad to write my first blog post. By July, I had met with a techie friend (thanks Chad!) to help me with the intricacies of WordPress and by July 27, I was ready to hit publish. Of course, the weeks and months since then have provided great opportunities for learning more about the wonderful world of blogging.

Advice For New Bloggers:

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A Book You’ll Love, Mom!

May 10, 2019

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

The Gown
by Jennifer Robson

The Gown Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Royal Wedding, 1940s England

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

The Gown is, in part, a behind-the-scenes story of the making of Princess (Queen) Elizabeth’s wedding gown. As the people of England endure a harsh winter and post-war shortages and rationing, news of a Royal wedding brightens the country’s spirit. Told from two perspectives, we hear the imagined story of two young women who work for the famous fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Although the girls are accustomed to working on exclusive gowns for high profile clients and the Royal family, the newest assignment of a wedding gown for Princess (Queen) Elizabeth brings extraordinary pressure and excitement. A third perspective (and modern timeline) follows one of their granddaughters who travels to London a half-century later to unravel her grandmother’s mysterious and secret past. There’s more to the story than the dress as the author gives us an idea of what life was like in 1940s London, and explores themes of friendship, family, and love.

Amazon Rating:  4.6 Stars

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How to Start a Book Club

May 8, 2019

How to Start a Book Club

book club

These are my friends that gathered one Saturday afternoon to discuss Invention of Wings.

Have you wondered what’s involved with starting a Book Club?

Are you in a book club? Have you thought about starting a book club?
Would you like to join a book club?

love to read

  • If you want to be in a book club, you may need to be the one to start it. But first, check your local library or bookstore to see if they already have a book club you can join.

 

love to read

  • How do I find members for my book club? You might be fortunate to have friends who are readers and want to form a club. Great, you’re all set. But sometimes our friends are not readers, then what? Maybe you can inquire among the neighbors or at your children’s sports practices or at church? I’ve also seen inquiries on my city’s Facebook page. One of my blogger friends has access to funds at her church and purchases a set of books and then passes the books out to young women in her church, inviting them to read the book and then opening her home for a one evening book discussion. This is a great opportunity for young moms who might not have extra money to buy books and who might be needing a night out! Creating a two-person book club with you and your BFF, your mom, your sister, a child, or a grandchild also counts as a legit book club. Ask your colleagues at work. Perhaps you could meet at lunchtime or after or before work once a month. Be creative! I know you can find your people!

 

love to read

  • How do I organize a book club? There is no right way to organize a Book Club. It can be small or large. A book club can meet in your home, in a coffee shop, at the library or a park, or virtually.
    • If you open your home for a book club, you can offer light appetizers and wine (or assorted beverages) or dessert and coffee. Some book clubs might meet mid-morning and others in the afternoon or evening. Whatever works for the participants is key, but meet on a regular schedule, keep it simple, and think about rotating hosts. If you’ve read The Little Book of Hygge, this is a perfect opportunity to put some of the concepts into practice!
    • Sometimes a small group of readers will meet in a coffee shop, choosing an off-peak time and a place where they can sit together for an hour or so without inconveniencing other customers who are waiting for tables.
    • Your library might have a book club you can join or might have a place where a group could meet, although one disadvantage is lack of snacks. You could also consider brown bagging it and meeting at a quiet park during the spring and summer months.

 

love to read

  • What is a Non-Traditional Book Club?
    • A Literacy Club: Instead of reading the same book, members each bring a book or two they’ve been reading lately. These friends take turns giving a brief synopsis of the book and a reason why it was a good read (or your group can decide the parameters of the sharing). These clubs are gaining in popularity, and I like them because (1) there’s no pressure to read a certain book that might not be your preference or that doesn’t work for you, (2) each person has a chance to speak/share and this helps the one that might have difficulty speaking up in a group setting, and (3) the sharing is inspiring and generates enthusiasm for many different genres. Check out this inspiring post about a book club meeting from a blogger friend, fellow book lover, and host extraordinaire, Rhonda.
    • A Social Media Group: Some reading friends who are not logistically close to each other have created private Facebook groups or Instagram groups to discuss books.
    • Postal Book Club: This works for readers who want to form a book club with family or friends but they are scattered across the country. I am part of a postal book club that is comprised of a group of readers that I met online, and it works like this: six people each choose and buy a book and a small journal; a master mailing list is created and every two months the book you have is mailed to the next person on the list along with the journal; at the end of the year you will have read six books (including your own) and will receive your own book and your journal back to read all the comments; the fun part of this is keeping the book titles secret so that your book mail is a surprise and it’s fun to receive book mail! We use the Media Rate for mailing which takes a bit longer but is less expensive.
    • Online Book Clubs: There are also various online book clubs you can join. I belong to the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club but participation requires a $10 membership fee; the upside is that the members are seriously engaged and the organizers provide live book chats and author chats, monthly book suggestions and message boards with topics that include the monthly selection and various other bookish topics (members in my Postal Book Club are from this group). Another option is Goodreads. You can search their groups to find something that might appeal to you. I find that having engaging conversations on Goodreads is cumbersome because the notification system isn’t the greatest. There are numerous Facebook groups you can follow, but they feel impersonal to me, often they read books that are not in my preferred genre, and it’s difficult to make friends. Of all my online book activities, the MMD Book Club has been the most rewarding.

 

love to read

  • How do book clubs choose what to read? Some clubs stick to one genre like historical fiction or rotate genres throughout the year; some clubs enjoy reading classics; other clubs may choose to focus on diverse literature or contemporary fiction or new releases or nonfiction ….. the possibilities are exciting! If your book club rotates hosts, sometimes the host gets to choose the next book as a perk of hosting. Often, members will come prepared with one suggestion and then the group will vote on the next read.

 

love to read

  • How is a book club meeting structured? It’s a good idea to discuss norms at your first meeting. If you don’t, it can be difficult to reign things in later. Honestly, one complaint I frequently hear about book clubs is that “We spend most of our time chatting and only a few minutes discussing the book.” Talk about this up front and agree on some guidelines. Meetings can be informal with members tossing out observations and questions as they feel led. Or meetings can be more structured and look like this: each member comes prepared with one question (about the book) to ask the group and the members take turns asking their questions and getting responses from the group. Another more structured approach is when one member (the host? or the person who chose the book?) creates a set of questions to ask the group. Often these questions can be found in the back of the book or online.  My favorite structure is when each person comes prepared with one question to ask. You could modify this to be a question or a favorite passage to share.

 

love to read

  • What if a book club member doesn’t read the book? Well….this happens from time to time….perhaps it’s because of unforeseen circumstances or perhaps there was some problem with the content and the person chose not to finish the book. My advice is to welcome the nonreader! Chances are this might happen to you once too! Extend Grace. Hopefully, the engaging discussion will encourage the nonreader to read the next book! If the person is a habitual nonreader, she or he will probably drop out of the group after some time.

 

love to read

  • What is the ideal number of participants? I think 6-8 is an optimum number for a small group. You want enough members so that if one or two can’t make it, you still have more than two people to carry on an engaging conversation. More than ten might be unwieldy and you are more likely to experience side conversations. Really, the number isn’t a concern. You and your best friend is the perfect number, too!

 

love to read

  • Do we need more than readers and a few snacks? Certain books lend themselves to themes. Although it’s fun to plan food and decorations around themes, it can also be a lot of work for the host.
    • One of my bookstagram friends recently read I Am Malala in her book club and the participants did some henna on their hands and took a group hand photo (here is the Instagram link). So, yes, plan to have fun but don’t do it at the expense of grand book discussions or at risk of host burnout!
    • Some clubs might have a Hawaiian theme and simply wear Hawaiian shirts and move their discussion outside around the pool on balmy summer nights. Simple and fun.
    • Another option for fun is to contact the author and ask her/him to Skype with your group. Debut authors are more likely to consider this invitation, but it never hurts to ask! It might also be fun to read a book by a local author and ask if the author will visit your club. Your Book Club could also arrange to attend a local author event together. You might also find an interview video clip of the author discussing her/his work online and watch it together.

 

love to read

  • What do we talk about? Choose books with good discussion opportunities. It’s actually not a catastrophe if someone in your group dislikes the book because that can add to the variety of the discussion.
    • Discussion can touch on the same elements that might be included in a review (such as setting, likable characters, unreliable narrators, motivations of characters, themes, character-driven vs plot driven, satisfying or open-ended conclusions, favorite quotes, the meaning of the title, point of view/narrator, etc.).

 

love to read

  • Do you have questions, ideas, or comments? The bottom line is that book clubs are not hard to start and can be structured in a variety of ways. I’d love to continue the discussion and hear your ideas or questions in comments.

See this post for my list of books that are likely to create great Book Club discussions.


Let’s Discuss!

Are you in a book club?

What is your favorite thing about your book club or book clubs in general?

Do you have any ideas you can add to this discussion?

Would you like to be in a book club?

Has this post inspired you to think about joining or starting a book club?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

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

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

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

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



Sharing is Caring

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

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***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.

1st Line/1st Paragraph

May 7, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph

I’m linking up today 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 the first line and first full paragraph of The Lost For Words Bookshop. I just finished this book late last night, and I’m eager to bring you my full review soon. *Spoiler: If you loved Eleanor Oliphant, you will love this!

 

 

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

The Lost for Words Bookshop

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction

1st Line/1st Paragraph:

“A book is a match in the smoking second between strike and flame.”

“Archie says books are our best lovers and our most provoking friends. He’s right, but I’m right, too. Books can really hurt you.”

Are you intrigued? Have you read this?

Our main character, Lovejoy Cardew, is tattooed with the first lines of a few of her most memorable reads …. so you know that the first line of this book will be a good one!


Sharing is Caring

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

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***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.

Book Recommendations For Book Club

May 6, 2019

Book Recommendations For Book Club

Some times my book club considers it challenging to find thoughtful, discussable books. Does your book club face that dilemma?

Often after finishing a book, I think: This would make a great book club selection. Usually, I base this opinion on the discussion possibilities and thoughtful themes or relevant issues.

If it would be helpful, here’s a list of books I’ve read that I can confidently recommend for my book club or yours (most suggestions are made with women in mind). The list is also heavily weighted toward historical fiction because I spend most of my reading hours in this genre. I hope you find this list a useful resource in choosing your next read!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Grouped by Star Rating (in no particular order) and by Genre (Titles are Amazon affiliate links or links to my reviews):

Historical Fiction

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd 5+ Stars

The Gown by Jennifer Robson 5 Stars

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi 5 Stars

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom 5 Stars

Beantown Girls by Jane Healey 5 Stars

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor 5 Stars

The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar 5 Stars

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys 5 Stars

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (and Netflix movie) 5 Stars

News of the World by Paulette Jiles 5 Stars

America’s First Daughter or My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray (both) 5 Stars

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor 5 Stars

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter 5 Stars

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon 5 Stars

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe 5 Stars

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom 5 Stars

Learning to See by Elise Hooper 5 Stars

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