The Winemaker’s Wife: A Review

February 26, 2020

The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel

The Winemaker's Wife by Kristin Harmel (cover)

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, France

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Told from multiple perspectives and in a past and present timeline, The Winemaker’s Wife is a story of secrets, survival, guilt, and love.

Through the perspectives of Inès and Céline, we experience the intrigue of their daily lives before and during the German invasion of France during WW11; we learn details of the champagne production at the (fictional) Maison Chauveau in northern France near the city of Reims; and we also hear a little about the French resistance (hiding munitions and Jews). An alternate present-day timeline shares the story of Liv who is mysteriously whisked away from her home in New York to France by her eccentric grandmother. There are secrets from the past to be revealed.

My Thoughts:

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The Girl in White Gloves: A Review

February 25, 2020

The Girl in White Gloves by Kerri Maher

The Girl in White Gloves by Kerri Maher (cover)

Genre/Categories: Biographical Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks #netgalley #berkleypub for a free e ARC of #thegirlinwhitegloves by Kerri Maher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

In this highly fictionalized biographical historical fiction of the life of an American actress turned princess, we get a glimpse into Grace Kelly‘s childhood dreams, her rise to fame, and her eventual royal life as Princess of Monaco.

 

Hollywood Actress and Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly (head shot)

Image Source: Wikipedia

Grace Kelly smiling and waving (wearing white gloves)

Image Source: Beyond Grace Kelly

My Thoughts:

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Born a Crime: A Review

February 21, 2020

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (cover)

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, South Africa

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Compelling, humorous, and inspiring…

Trevor Noah’s life in Apartheid South Africa began with a crime. He was born to a white father and a black Xhosa mother. This had to be kept a secret because the relationship was punishable by five years in prison. In a racially divided country, Trevor spent most of his early childhood living behind closed doors because his light color would certainly give away the circumstances of his birth and place his parents (who were living separately) in danger. If the government discovered the circumstances of his birth, they could even take him away from his mother. At the end of Apartheid and later in his childhood, Trevor Noah faced the challenge of deciding with which group he would identify: white, black, or colored (mixed). He felt like an outsider for most of his childhood and young adult years. Trevor enjoyed a close relationship with his risk-taking, rebellious, and spiritual mother. He was intuitive and street smart but also incredibly mischievous. The essays that document his coming of age are humorous, insightful, honest, and at times disturbing.

Amazon Star Rating (February): 4.8 Stars

My Thoughts:

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The Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover

February 18, 2020

10 Recent Reads That Gave Me a Book Hang Over

The Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover

Have you ever experienced a book hangover?

Have you ever had difficulty getting up in the morning because you stayed up too late reading an unputdownable book?

Have you had difficulty starting a new book after finishing an especially great book?

Have you wanted to tell everyone you know about a certain book?

I think my very first real book hangover occurred when I read Gone With the Wind in high school! That was when I fell in love with histfic, compelling and unputdownable stories, and independent and strong female characters.

Book Hangovers are wonderful! They occur after I’ve read an engaging, compelling, unputdownable book with likable characters and substantial content and themes that I can’t stop thinking about for days and weeks. These books leave an emotional impact and years later I can remember how I felt reading them. They are the 4.5-5 star range and appear on my “best of the year” and “lifetime favorites” lists.

Top Ten Tuesday (meme)

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for TTT: The Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover.

Titles are Amazon affiliate links and my reviews are linked.
(listed in no particular order although all are recent reads)

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare (cover)

A love letter of hope and encouragement to girls worldwide who are dreaming and striving to use their own Louding Voices. 5+ Stars

Full Review Here


The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri (cover)

A compelling refugee story of love, loss, hope, and compassion. 5 stars

Full Review Here


The Girl With Seven Names: Escape From North Korea by Hyeonseo Lee

The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee (cover)

A compelling memoir of escape, determination, survival, family, and kindness. 4.5 Stars (4 Stars for the writing; 5 Stars for compelling content)

Full Review Here


Finding Chika by Mitch Albom

Finding Chika by Mitch Albom (cover)

“Families are like pieces of art. You can make them from almost anything. The only ingredient you need to make a family is unconditional love.” 5 Stars

Full Review Here


The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (cover)

An inspirational and unforgettable character. 5 Stars

Full Review Here

(more…)

The Girl With the Louding Voice: A Review

February 14, 2020

On Valentine’s Day (U.S.), a love letter of hope and encouragement to girls worldwide who are dreaming and striving to use their own Louding Voices!

 The Girl With the Louding Voice: by Abi Daré

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare (cover)

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Nigeria, Oppression, Women’s Rights

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

“Tomorrow will be better than today. I have value and I’m important.”

Life for a woman is not easy in Nigeria. Adunni’s mom plants the thought of having a “voice” in her spirit. Fourteen-year-old Adunni is determined to fight for her voice to be heard and for her future despite being sold as a third wife. Even when she runs away, she finds herself in another powerless position of servitude. Adunni is introduced to a more modern woman who befriends her and encourages her to keep hope alive and to think of herself as important and having value.

My Thoughts:

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Celebrate Friendship With Books on Galentine’s Day

February 12, 2020

A collage of flowers and a book's pages opened in the shape of a heart and the words "Celebrate Friendship on Galentine's Day"

Books Recommendations With Strong Friendship Themes For Galentine’s Day

If you need a thoughtful, bookish gift for a Galentine, here are ten books with strong friendship themes (all written by women) that I can confidently and wholeheartedly recommend for an enjoyable and appreciated reading experience for most bookworms.

Top Ten Tuesday (meme)

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for TTT: Valentine Freebie.

Titles are Amazon affiliate links and my reviews are linked.
(in no particular order)

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay (cover)

My new favorite book about books! Strong and heartfelt themes of friendship and forgiveness. 4.5 stars (5 rounded up)

Full Review Here


The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See (cover)

A strong community of women working together in dangerous conditions to support their families. 4 Stars

Full Review Here


The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey (cover)

Three best friends join the war effort (some profanity). 4.5 Stars

Full Review Here


The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman (cover)

Friends and found family. 4 Stars

Full Review Here


The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan (cover)

Women in the community join together during wartime. 4 stars

Full Review Here


Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly (cover)

A compelling story of friendship and survival. 5 stars

Full Review Here


Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott (cover)

One of my favorite WW11 histfic stories (free verse, YA). 5 Stars

Full Review Here


The Gown by Jennifer Robson

The Gown by Jennifer Robson (cover)

Finding friendship while working on Queen Elizabeth’s gown (histfic). 4.5 Stars

Full Review Here


Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan

Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan (cover)

Poignant reflections on life and a deep friendship (nonfiction, memoir). 4 stars

Full Review Here


The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff (cover)

A harrowing tale of friendship and survival as the circus meets WW11. 4 Stars

Full Review Here



I "heart" books (books spelled out in book stacks)



More Valentine/Galentine Gifting Ideas

TTT: Book Gifts For a Galentine or Valentine

Last year’s Galentine Post for more book ideas.

The Caffeinated Bibliophile also has a list of Christian romantic reads in her post Ten Christian Romance Books to Read for Valentine’s Day.



QOTD:

Are you buying a gift for Galentine’s or Valentine’s this year?

If you have questions about any of the recommendations, or if you’d like a recommendation for a different genre, I’d be happy to answer in the comments or in email. 



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

image of a girl reading with one hand while pulling a wagon piled high with books

“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



ICYMI:

Black History Month: 10 Memorable Reads

 Why getting lost in a book is so good for you according to science!

Winter TBR (update)



In Movie News….

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (cover)

I just read about a Netflix remake of the classic Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier



Let’s Get Social!

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 Gifts For A Galentine (or Valentine)

February 11, 2020

a collage of flowers and a book's pages opened in the shape of a heart and the words "Book Gifts For Your Galentines"

Books are wonderful last minute, thoughtful gifts for Galentines or Valentines!

If you need a bookish gift for a Galentine/Valentine or for yourself this week, here are ten of my most recent, favorite fiction reads (all by women authors) that I can confidently and wholeheartedly recommend for an enjoyable and appreciated reading experience for most readers. In fact, you could print out this list or send it to your significant other and say “surprise me!”

(no particular order, reviews linked)

Top Ten Tuesday (meme)

Today I’m linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Valentine Freebie.

Titles are Amazon affiliate links and my reviews are linked.
(in no particular order)

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay (cover)

My new favorite book about books! Strong and heartfelt themes of friendship and forgiveness. 4.5 stars (5 rounded up)

Full Review Here


The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali (cover)

Heartfelt love story (diverse read). 4 Stars

Full Review Here


The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer (cover)

A poignant granddaughter/grandmother story and search for family history and lost love (WW11 histfic). 4.5 Stars

Full Review Here


Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain (cover)

Engaging light histfic and a little mystery. 4 Stars

Full Review Here


The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke (cover)

An unputdownable story of survival and sacrifice (WW11 histfic). 4 stars

Full Review Here


Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall (cover)

A compelling story of friendship and faith. 5 stars (a favorite of 2019)

Full Review Here


If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais (cover)

An unputdownable story of three strong women living in post-Apartheid South Africa (diverse read). 4 Stars

Full Review Here


Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (cover)

Perfume, romance, and celebrity sightings. 4 Stars

Full Review Here


Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb (cover)

Engaging stories involving therapy experiences (nonfiction, memoir). 5 stars

Full Review Here


The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (cover)

My favorite histfic of 2019 (the heaviest of all the titles on this list). 5 Stars

Full Review Here



I "heart" books (books spelled out in book stacks)



More Valentine/Galentine Gift Reading Ideas

Last year’s Galentine Post for more book ideas.

The Caffeinated Bibliophile also has a list of Christian romantic reads in her post Ten Christian Romance Books to Read for Valentine’s Day.



QOTD:

Are you buying a gift for Galentine’s or Valentine’s this year?

If you have questions about any of the recommendations, or if you’d like a recommendation for a different genre, I’d be happy to answer in the comments or in email.



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

image of a girl reading with one hand while pulling a wagon piled high with books

“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



ICYMI:

Black History Month: 10 Memorable Reads

 Why getting lost in a book is so good for you according to science!

Winter TBR (update)



In Movie News….

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (cover)

I just read about a Netflix remake of the classic Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier



Let’s Get Social!

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.

 

Black History Month: 10 Memorable Reads

February 7, 2020

10 Memorable Reads for Black History Month

10 Reading Ideas for Black History Month (image: right focus on a woman's hands reading a book sitting by water)

I hope you are inspired by reading ideas for Black History Month! Have you read any of these titles? Please add your recommendations in the comments.

Books are listed in no particular order. The title I selected are stories set in the U.S., but I’m adding a section for stories set in Africa, too! Not all of the titles are #ownvoices authors (I’ve noted the ones that are). Titles are Amazon affiliate links and you will find some links to reviews (some I read before I began the blog).

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Just Mercy cover

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (Memoir, Nonfiction, Racial Tension, and Injustice). 4 Stars. My Full Review Here. #ownvoices
***Adapted for YA

The Water Dancer cover

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Literary Fiction, historical fiction, Slavery) 5 Stars. My Full Review Here. #ownvoices

The Invention of Wings cover

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (historical fiction, abolitionist movement)
A favorite read over the past several years. 5 Stars. My Full Review Here.

Homegoing cover

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (historical fiction, family multi-generational saga)
This book is ambitious in its structure and memorable in its storytelling….it hasn’t received enough attention! Although it begins in Africa, it ends in the U.S. 5 Stars. #ownvoices

The Warmth of Other Suns cover

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (a combination of history and narrative nonfiction). An ambitious history of black migration across the U.S. from post Civil War to the 1970s. 4 Stars (heavy on history….the three personal stories are memorable and heartfelt). #ownvoices

The Hate U Give cover

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (contemporary fiction, racial tensions, YA)
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement. 5 Stars. My Full Review Here. #ownvoices

The Kitchen House cover

Glory Over Everything cover

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (historical fiction, slavery) and the sequel Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom  (historical fiction, passing as white). Both 5 Stars.

Small Great Things cover

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (contemporary fiction, racial tension). 4 Stars. Brief Review in This Post Here.

Dreamland Burning cover

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (historical fiction, YA). 5 Stars. Brief Review in This Post Here.


Runners Up:

The Mothers cover

The Mothers by Brit Bennett  4 Stars. My Brief Goodreads Review Here. #ownvoices

The Gilded Years cover

The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe (historical fiction, biographical, first black woman to attend Vassar). 4 Stars. My Full Review Here.

An American Marriage Cover

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Women’s Fiction, Family Life). 4.5 Stars. My Full Review Here. #ownvoices


Also Recommended:
Stories Set in Africa

Hum if You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais (cover)

Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais (histfic). 4. Stars. Full Review Here.

If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais (cover)

If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais (histfic). 4 Stars. My Full Review Here.

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare (cover)

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare (contemporary fiction). 5 Stars. (I love this one….review coming) #0wnvoices


Middle Grade Recommendations

We Beat the Street cover

We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success by Sampson Davis  (middle grade, biography/memoir). 4 Stars. #ownvoices

Stella by Starlight cover

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M Draper (middle grade historical fiction, racial tension). 4 Stars.

Brown Girl Dreaming cover

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (middle grade childhood memoir) 5 Stars. My Full Review Here. #ownvoices

Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (cover)

Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (MG histfic, slavery)


February Read:

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (cover)

Born a Crime (memoir) by Trevor Noah #ownvoices



QOTD!

Did you find a book to add to your TBR?

What are you reading for Black History Month?

Share your own recommendations in comments!



ICYMI

Winter 2019 TBR (update)

My Love/Hate Relationship With DNF

Trigger Warnings: Yes or No?

How I Use Goodreads

Nonfiction/Fiction Pairings



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 Text



Let’s Get Social!

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.

The Printed Letter Bookshop: A Review

February 6, 2020

 The Printed Letter Bookshop: by Katherine Reay

The Printed Letter Bookshop (cover) by Katherine Reay

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Books About Books, Women’s Fiction

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

friendship…forgiveness…second chances…new beginnings

Madeleine’s happiest childhood memory is spending time at her Aunt Maddie’s house and her beloved bookshop. Suddenly, the families become estranged and Madeleine hasn’t seen her aunt in twenty years. After her aunt dies, Madeleine discovers she has inherited everything: the bookshop, the house, the car, and all the debt. At the same time, Madeleine’s career plans are in jeopardy and she begins to seriously investigate what saving the bookshop, moving, and a new plan for her life might involve.

My Thoughts:

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1st Line/1st Paragraph: The Girl With the Louding Voice

 February 4, 2020

1st Line/1st Paragraphs

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.

Open book on the sand with a blurred out ocean background: words: First Chapter, First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros

I’m pleased to share the first paragraphs of The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

Is this on your TBR or have you read it?

Amazon Summary:

“Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who knows what she wants: an education. This, her mother has told her, is the only way to get a “louding voice”—the ability to speak for herself and decide her own future. But instead, Adunni’s father sells her to be the third wife of a local man who is eager for her to bear him a son and heir.

When Adunni runs away to the city, hoping to make a better life, she finds that the only other option before her is servitude to a wealthy family. As a yielding daughter, a subservient wife, and a powerless slave, Adunni is told, by words and deeds, that she is nothing.

But while misfortunes might muffle her voice for a time, they cannot mute it. And when she realizes that she must stand up not only for herself, but for other girls, for the ones who came before her and were lost, and for the next girls, who will inevitably follow; she finds the resolve to speak, however she can—in a whisper, in song, in broken English—until she is heard.”


The Girl With the Louding Voice

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

The Girl With the Louding Voice cover

Genre/Categories: Historical African Fiction, Nigeria

1st Line/1st Paragraphs From Chapter One:

This morning, Papa call me inside the parlor.
He was sitting inside the sofa with no cushion and looking me. Papa have this way of looking me one kind. As if he wants to be flogging me for no reason, as if I am carrying shit inside my cheeks and when I open mouth to talk, the whole place be smelling of it.
“Sah?’ I say, kneeling down and putting my hand in my back. “You call me?”
“Come close,” Papa say.
I know he want to tell me something bad. I can see it inside his eyes; his eyeballs have the dull of a brown stone that been sitting inside hot sun for too long. He have the same eyes when he was telling me, three years ago, that I must stop my educations. That time, I was the most old of all in my class and all the childrens was always calling me “Aunty.” I tell you true, the day I stop school and the day my mama was dead is the worst day of my life.”

This morning when I heard that this was the pick for Read With Jenna, I hustled over to the Libby app and put it on hold. It became available by the end of the day! I knew it was meant to be. I realize it will be a difficult read, but I’m ready. I recently finished two light and lovely reads, and I’m eager to engage with something more substantial for February. From the summary, it seems that Adunni has a strong, clear voice but because of where she was born and her circumstances, she does not yet know how to use it. I’m also pleased to realize that Abi Dare is a debut author!



QOTD:

Is The Girl With the Louding Voice on your TBR?



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.