May Reading Wrap Up

May 31, 2019

May Reading Wrap Up

May Reading Wrap Up

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

May was a great reading month and I am especially excited to report a few five- and four-star reads. Find all my May reads listed below in order of Star Rating. Keep in mind that I normally recommend five- and four-star reads on the blog; three-star reads receive mixed reviews from me for various reasons; and two-star reads are books that were not for me.

Did we read any of the same books?

Titles are Amazon affiliate links and my available reviews are linked.


Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott

5 Stars. WW11. A poignant and memorable story in free verse (YA).  Full review here.


On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

5 Stars. Contemporary Fiction. Powerfully told from an “own voices” perspective (YA). Review coming soon.


The River by Peter Heller

5 Stars. Wilderness survival/suspense/thriller. Review coming soon.


The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars on Goodreads). Historical Fiction/Korean island of Jeju. Full review here.


The Lost For Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars on Goodreads).  For fans of Eleanor Oliphant. A heartfelt and memorable read. Review coming soon.

(more…)

Advertisements

1st Line/1st Paragraph: The River

May 29, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph: The River

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

First Paragraph

I’m pleased to share the first line and first paragraph of The River by Peter Heller. I’ve read a few great reviews, and I’m eager to bring you my full review soon. If you spend time fishing, camping, and canoeing, you might appreciate this wilderness survival/suspense thriller set in the Canadian wilderness.

From Amazon: From the best-selling author of The Dog Stars, The River is the story of two college students on a wilderness canoe trip–a gripping tale of friendship tested by fire, white water, and violence. From the charged beginning, master storyteller Peter Heller unspools a headlong, heart-pounding story of desperate wilderness survival.

The River by Peter Heller

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

The River

Genre/Categories: Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Wilderness Survival, Adventure, Friendship

1st Line/1st Paragraph:

They had been smelling smoke for two days. At first they thought it was another campfire and that surprised them because they had not heard the engine of a plane and they had been traveling the string of long lakes for days and had not seen sign of another person or even the distant movement of another canoe. The only tracks in the mud of the portages were wolf and moose, otter, bear. The winds were west and north and they were moving north so if it was another party they were ahead of them. It perplexed them because they were smelling smoke not only in early morning and at night, but would catch themselves at odd hours lifting their noses like coyotes, nostrils flaring.

I have read about 50% of The River. I can report that it’s a great balance of character driven and plot driven content. The description settings are vivid and beautifully written. The River explores the character of two college friends who share a deep friendship, a love of the mountains, books, and fishing. Throughout the story, we also observe that they have a great deal of respect for each other. These are good guys. What starts out as an enjoyable wilderness trip goes horribly wrong as the young men need to outrace a forest fire, save a life, and protect themselves from a violent stranger. I’m eager to see how this ends!



QOTD: Are you intrigued? Do you like wilderness survival stories?



Looking Ahead:

Come back Friday for my May Reading Wrap Up!



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.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Historical Fiction Books I Read During Each of the Last 10 Years

May 28, 2019

Do you love making lists?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Historical Fiction Books I Read During Each of the Last 10 Years

 

 

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books I Read in Each of the Last Ten Years. Once I started curating my list, I realized that the majority of titles were historical fiction (no surprise!), so I’m tweaking the prompt to list my favorite historical fiction reads in each of the last ten years. This is a difficult task, but it’s fun to reminisce. Some years it was too difficult to choose only one. Many years I have favorites that are not historical fiction and I decided to save those for another list.

For this list, I have simply chosen a memorable book for each year. This list doesn’t represent the best of all the books I’ve read in the last ten years.

Most of these titles were read in the year they were published, but some are back list titles.

How many of these titles have you read and loved?

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

2019 (to date)

The Gown, Paper Hearts

2018

My Dear Hamilton, Last Christmas in Paris

2017

From Sand and Ash, Refugee

2016

News of the World, Homegoing, America’s First Daughter, Salt to the Sea

2015

The Nightingale

(more…)

The Island of Sea Women: A Review

May 27, 2019

Have you experienced a patriarchal or matriarchal culture?

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

Island of Sea Women Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, South Korea, Women’s Roles

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

You may have read The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, or Shanghai Girls by popular author Lisa See. In The Island of Sea Women, See imagines the story of Mi-ja and Young-sook. As the story begins, we are introduced to these two young girls living on the Korean Island of Jeju. Although the girls are best friends, they come from very different backgrounds. As the girls mature, they begin working in the sea with other women in the village as part of the diving collective (the haenyo). Even though diving is dangerous, the girls are eager to be allowed to join the women of the sea as they learn the trade and follow in the tradition of the other women in the village who are the sole providers for their families. In this matriarchal culture, the men stay home, cook, and assume primary care for the children. Women take on the responsibility for providing an income from selling the bounty of their diving expeditions. It’s women who worry about the livelihood of their families and village, assume great physical risks, and take responsibility for knowing the best locations and times/conditions to dive. The  sea women dive when they are pregnant and sometimes give birth on the boat as part of their workday if necessary. The story begins in the 1930s and continues through WW11, the Korean War, and the modern technology boom. Over the decades, circumstances put the girls’ friendship under great strain and the story encompasses their entire lives. It’s a story of a unique culture, friendship, understanding, community, and a dangerous and demanding profession.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

The Scent Keeper: A Review

May 24, 2019

The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister

Welcome to my stop on The Scent Keeper Blog Tour sponsored by St Martins Press. Thanks to Clare Maurer at St Martins for the invitation! Thanks to #NetGalley #StMartinsPress for a free digital copy of #TheScentKeeper in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. *This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

The Scent Keeper Review

Genre/Categories: Fiction, Coming of Age, Family Life, Magical Realism

Summary:

Emmeline lives on a small isolated and remote island with her father. They function as survivalists by foraging and growing their own food. Even though Emmeline and her father are isolated, the father has a contact who arrives by boat and occasionally delivers items that can’t be acquired on the island. Emmeline’s father teaches her about the natural world through her senses. Emmeline’s world is filled with love and security and it’s all she knows. Her father also has a mysterious machine that creates or captures scents (similar to a Polaroid camera), and he has scents stored in drawers that line the walls of their cabin. Although she’s curious about the scents, her father doesn’t offer a great deal of explanation. One day, Emmeline is forced out into the real world beyond the sanctuary of her island. She sets out on a quest to understand the life her father created for them, her father’s reasons, and the secrets he safeguarded.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

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.

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:

(more…)

Ask Again, Yes: A Review

May 17, 2019

How do you know when you’ve read a five star read?

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:

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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:

(more…)