March 2020 Reading Wrap Up

March 31, 2020

March 2020 Reading Wrap Up

March Reading Wrap Up (collage of book covers on a background of three leaf clovers)

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

What Was Your Best March Read?

Did March feel like the loooongest March on record to you?

March was a mixed results reading month with one five-star read and several three and four-star reads. I read a total of seven books. Find all my March reads listed below in order of Star Rating and preference. 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 I finished but that were not for me. One star reads are usually shelved as DNF or perhaps quickly scanned.

I’m guessing that most of us can relate to the reasons why March was a challenging reading month thanks to COVID-19. (On the subject, I found this video clip very helpful, reassuring, and comforting!) I thought at one point that we’d never reach the “reading wrap up” part of the month! Are you under orders to stay home where you live? I am, and the first week my reading suffered greatly. I had difficulty focusing, especially with my heavier content reads and ended up setting several aside. I finally picked up This Won’t End Well by Camille Pagán and its light subject matter and snappy writing immediately engaged me! I read it in one day and it jump-started my reading!

My favorite fiction read of the month is The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton. (which I’m glad I read early in the month before my brain was preoccupied with COVID-19)

Did we read any of the same books?

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


 The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

5 Stars. Historical Fiction (WW11). An inspiring and memorable main character who worked with the Kindertransport that rescued children from Nazi-controlled Europe during WW11. My full review here.


The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

4 Stars. Historical Fiction (post Civil War South). I especially loved the present-day teacher timeline. My full review here.


This Won’t End Well by Camille Pagán

4 Stars. Contemporary Women’s Fiction. Quirky character + snappy writing = one great escapist read! My full review here.


What You Wish For by Katherine Center

3.5 Stars. Contemporary Women’s Fiction (ARC) (chick lit end of the spectrum) A school librarian main character for the win and a few poignant themes. Brief Goodreads review here. Blog review is scheduled for July 14, 2020 (pub date).

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10 Signs That I’m a Book Lover #toptentuesday

March 31, 2020

Top Ten Signs That I’m a Book Lover

10 Signs I'm A Book Lover (image: tall stack of books on a blue painted table)

Before we get to the book talk, I’m curious if you are in isolation at home due to Covid 19 or are you an essential worker? Most of my family and I are at home. We do have four essential workers (three medical) in our family that we cover in prayer. God Bless the nurses and doctors, grocery store staff, and other essential workers!

On the subject, I found this video clip very helpful, reassuring, and comforting!

Honestly, it’s been a little difficult to read with an anxious mind. Have you been finding it difficult to focus on reading? How are you practicing self-care? I discovered that I need lighter reads right now which will likely play havoc with my Spring TBR. This Top Ten topic listing the obvious signs that I’m a book lover is interesting because I’m definitely well prepared for isolation. Stay safe everyone! Wash your hands and don’t touch your face!

Top Ten Signs That I’m a Book Lover

Top Ten Tuesday (meme)

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for TTT: Top Ten Signs I’m a Book Lover.

(listed in no particular order)

giphy-9

You know I’m a Book Lover because the first question I’ll ask you is “What are you reading now?” or “What is the best book you’ve read this year?” or another book-related question. My favorite topic is books and I’m prepared to use extreme tactics to steer the discussion in that direction.

 

giphy

You know I’m a Book Lover because you will always see me reading on my Kindle app in any waiting room or checkout line. I look forward to driving so that I can listen to an audio book. In fact, I’m never bored because I can always read!

 

giphy-8

You know I’m a Book Lover because I stay up way too late reading (and writing reviews).

 

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You know I’m a Book Lover because I think the book is better than the movie 99% of the time.

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You know I’m a Book Lover because I have a Bookstagram account on Instagram with over 1,000 bookish friends and scroll Goodreads twice a day.

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Blog Audit Challenge 2020: March #blogauditchallenge2020

March 30, 2020

March’s Blog Audit Challenge 2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020 (picture of a woman's hands on the keyboard of a laptop)Blogging Friends,

This year I’m participating in a Blog Audit Challenge 2020 hosted by Jo Linsdell. The plan is to work on making our blogs even better and setting our goals for the coming months. Each month will have its own challenge to work through. Join us!

Well….March was a bit derailed due to Covid-19! I hope that if you are reading this that you are well.

On the subject, I found this video clip very helpful, reassuring, and comforting!

March found me preoccupied with finding paper towels and toilet paper! Because of orders to stay home and isolate, I spent many reading and blogging hours ordering food and paper goods online. I had difficulty reading books with heavier content and had a serious case of the “blahs.” How about you? Thinking strategically about the blog became nonexistent. So, I don’t have too much to report unless good intentions and reflection count for something!

March’s Challenge is to focus on The Trimmings:

1. The Header

In anticipation of the March Challenge, I contacted an artist friend in February and inquired about designing a new header for the blog. The header needs to reflect my site and my personality and set a tone. When I first started the blog, I set it up quickly and impulsively and grabbed some generic graphics from Google images….I realized later that this is not recommended and I’ve known for some time that I need to come up with my own original artwork or pay for the right to use an image.

My header reflects me and my personality, but I don’t think it reflects what I DO. I know I need to think about branding.

  • My style– I’m a casual person. I love informal, warm, and welcoming. My current floral header reflects my love of nature, lots of color, and gardening, and it sends a warm vibe. So I’d like to keep that feel but stylize it so it’s uniquely me and doesn’t look like I pulled it from Google images! I think I’d like a pen and ink drawing and water color.
  • My mission-My header needs to convey a clear message about what I do….it needs to reflect my mission (from the January Challenge). Right now I have some words that suggest what I do, but I’d like my header to also visually reflect what I do.
  • My branding– I need to match my header to the rest of my branding. I definitely want my branding to reflect the informal, friendly, warm, and bookish vibe.

Definitely, I have a great deal of work to do in this area, and after the Covid-19 situation dies down, I will have more brain power to devote to this task!

2. The Side Bar

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The Book of Lost Friends: A Review

March 27, 2020

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate (cover)

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Post Civil War South, Women’s Fiction

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Searching for family…

“Lost Friends” advertisements appeared in Southern newspapers after the Civil War as freed slaves desperately tried to find loved ones who had been sold off. In 1875, three young girls from Louisiana set off on a perilous journey to Texas. Two of the girls are financially desperate and in search of their inheritance and the third is looking for her long lost family and helping others do the same. The present-day timeline takes place in Lousiana in 1987 as a young and inexperienced teacher lands her first job in a poor, rural community. Over the course of the year, she discovers the story of the three girls from 1875 and their connection to her current students.

My Thoughts:

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#throwbackthursday Glass Houses Review and Inspector Gamache Series Overview

March 26, 2020

Glass Houses Review and Inspector Gamache Series Overview
#throwbackthursday

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of Glass Houses and an Inspector Gamache Series overview. Enjoy!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Glass Houses by Louise Penny (cover)

Genre/Categories: fiction, mystery, detective, suspense, Canadian

My Summary:

A mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day. Even though Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are curious at first, they soon become wary. The figure stands unmoving through the fog, sleet, rain, and cold, staring straight ahead. Chief Inspector Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, suspects the mysterious figure has a unique history and a dark purpose. However, Gamache’s hands are tied because the figure hasn’t committed a crime, so he watches and waits. The villagers are tense hoping that Gamache will do something. The figure’s costume is historically tied to someone who acts as a “conscience” and comes to put pressure on an individual to pay a debt. Naturally, people in the village, including Gamache, start to examine their own consciences and wonder if the figure has come for them. Suddenly, the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, and the investigation commences. This story is told in two timelines: the November timeline when the murder took place and later in July as the trial for the accused begins. In typical Penny style, more is happening on a larger scale than just the trial. Gamache wrestles with his own conscience, the decisions he has made, and the personal consequences he will pay.

Click here to continue reading my review of Glass Houses and a series overview….

QOTD: Have you read Glass Houses or is it on your TBR?

10 Favorite “Books About Books” #toptentuesday

March 24, 2020

10 Favorite Books About Books for Top Ten Tuesday (Image: a tall stack of books on a blue table)

Top Ten Favorite “Books About Books”

Before we get to the book talk, I’m curious if you are in isolation at home due to Covid 19 or are you an essential worker? Most of my family and I are at home. We do have three essential workers in our family that we cover in prayer. God Bless the medical staff and grocery store workers!

Honestly, it’s been a little difficult to read with an anxious mind. Have you been finding it difficult to focus on reading? How are you practicing self-care? I discovered that I need lighter reads right now which will likely play havoc with my Spring TBR. This Top Ten topic involving a favorite genre is timely because most of the titles in this post could be considered lighter reads.

A Favorite Genre

Do you love the “book about books” sub-genre? If you are a bookworm like me, one of your favorite genres might be “books about books.” Here are a few of my favorites! Do we share any favorites?

Top Ten Tuesday (meme)

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for TTT: Favorite Genre.

Titles are Amazon affiliate links and my reviews are linked.

(listed in order of favorites)

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

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

Genre: Histfic (Kentucky) 5 Stars
What I Love: the fearless, feisty, determined, compassionate main character

Full Review Here

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The Ride of a Lifetime: A Review

March 20, 2020

The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger

Welcome Guest Reviewer: Abby

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Abby and GoofyHello from Seattle, Washington! My name is Abby, and I’m a cousin of Carol’s! Actually, my dad is Carol’s cousin, so I guess that makes us 1st cousins once removed. I posted on Instagram that I had just finished a book when Carol asked me to do a bit of a review for her blog.

I wish I could say I’m an avid reader, I’m not, but I’m trying to do better. My goal for 2020 is simple: to read one book a month. Thankfully, my husband heard that goal prior to January and stocked me up at Christmas with some of the books that were on my wish list!

I tend to gravitate to biographies, leadership books and inspirational reads with an occasional fiction thrown in the mix. As a life-long Disney fanatic and Disneyland Park enthusiast it’s no surprise that The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger was at the top of my “to read” list for 2020.

The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger (cover)

Background Image Source:  Brian McGowan on Unsplash

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Organizational Leadership, Business Biography

Summary:

In The Ride of a Lifetime, Robert Iger weaves his philosophical bits and pieces of wisdom by telling the stories of how he began at ABC Network and made his way up the food chain to become the CEO of the Walt Disney Company in 2005.

Abby’s Thoughts:

Abby seated (arms thrown in the air) with Cinderella's Castle in the backgroundIger’s story, The Ride of a Lifetime, is meaningful for us Disney fanatics – in my opinion – he will go down in history as the CEO that saved our beloved Disney brand after Michael Eisner’s leadership lacked that Disney magic. Eisner lead Disney as a corporation instead of the magical creative universe that it is, and that lead to movies that completely flopped, and the launch of Disney California Adventure, which was also a bit of a miss.

Eisner also landed himself in some hot water with the board of directors becoming enemies with Roy Disney and other board members that had been running Disney for quite some time. The Ride of a Lifetime highlights why some fans became disenchanted with Disney and why park attendance, design, and movies surged under Iger’s leadership.

Upon his appointment to the CEO Chair, Iger’s top three priorities were:

  1. To increase the amount of high-quality branded content created
  2. To advance technology both in the ability to create more compelling products and to deliver those products to consumers
  3. To grow globally

Abby standing (arms thrown in air) in front of the Disney Railroad StationThe Ride of a Lifetime then walks us through Iger’s acquisition strategies, and how he befriends Steve Jobs who, at the time, owned Pixar Animation Studios. Iger’s dream was for Pixar to rejuvenate Disney Animation Studios. Disney needed the creative jolt that Pixar brought and after the acquisition, you saw a huge jump in quality of product from Disney Animation.

Also of note is the acquisition of Marvel Entertainment, the Star Wars Universe and Lucas Film and last, but not least, 21st Century Fox.

These acquisitions are probably the largest ear marks of Iger’s career, but the rejuvenation of Disney California Adventure, Hong Kong Disney, and the opening of Shanghai Disney will be notable as well since it brought that much-needed magic back to the parks!

Abby with her Mickey Mouse hat (and a backpack) stand on Main Street, Disney

 

Recommended: Overall, I think The Ride of a Lifetime is a solid read. If you like reading about leaders and what they do to make their world go around, it’s worthwhile to pick it up. As a Disney fanatic I digested the facts as quickly as I could, and couldn’t put it down, but everyone might not be as hungry for this information as I am.

 

 

Robert Iger’s 10 Leadership nuggets are quoted in this Forbes review in December of 2019. I think you’ll find the quotes thoughtful and they definitely highlight the take-a ways from Iger’s book.

Thanks for the review, Abby!

 

The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger (cover) Image: Iger seated in a chair, hands casually crossed

The Ride of a Lifetime Information Here

Meet the Author, Robert Iger

 

Robert Iger is chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company and he previously served as president and CEO beginning in October 2005 and president and COO from 2000 to 2005. Iger began his career at ABC in 1974, and as chairman of the ABC Group, he oversaw the broadcast television network and station group, cable television properties, and guided the merger between Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. and The Walt Disney Company. Iger officially joined the Disney senior management team in 1996 as chairman of the Disney-owned ABC Group and in 1999 was given the additional responsibility of president, Walt Disney International. In that role, Iger expanded Disney’s presence outside of the United States, establishing the blueprint for the company’s international growth today.



QOTD!

Are you a Disney fanatic like Abby?

Do you enjoy books about interesting and innovative leaders?



ICYMI

Spring 2020 TBR



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



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***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.

© ReadingLadies.com

Before We Were Yours: A Review #throwbackthursday

March 19, 2020

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
#throwbackthursday

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of Before We Were Yours. Enjoy!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (cover) Image: 2 young girls sitting (backs to the camera) on an old fashioned brown suitcase

Genre/Categories: fiction, family

My Summary:

Two timelines reveal this sad and heartfelt story that is based on one of America’s most tragic real-life scandals in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped, mistreated, and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country.

Click here to continue reading my review ….

QOTD: Have you read Before We Were Yours or is it on your TBR?

Spring 2020 TBR

March 17, 2020

Spring Reading Season TBR (2020)

Open book with a spray of lilacs as a bookmark; Words: Spring TBR

Image Source: Canva

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

For spring, these are the ten books prioritized on my TBR Mountain. They are a mix of genres, include three ARCs (advance reader copies), and most have been reviewed highly by others. I’m hoping for some winners here. Have you read any of these or is one on your TBR?

I never plan more than ten titles for my quarterly TBR lists because I need to leave time for mood reading and review commitments. These ten books (in no particular order) are a priority on a much longer general TBR.

What is your most anticipated read this spring?

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Spring 2020 To Be Read List.

Top Ten Tuesday (meme)


Spring 2019 TBR


The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn (cover)

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir

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The Last Train to London: A Review

March 13, 2020

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton (cover)

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, Jewish, Nazi-Occupied Europe

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Rescuing children, her life’s work…

The Last Train to London shares the story of real-life hero Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance who risked her life smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi Germany. (She was honored as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. )

The mission known as Kindertransport carried thousands of children out of Nazi-occupied Europe. In addition to hearing about Tante Truus as she was known, the author imagines the lives of children such as Stephan (budding playwright), his younger brother. and Zofie-Helene (mathematics protegee).

Auntie Truus (headshot)

Tante Truus: Image Source: Wikipedia

 

Auntie Truus statue in Amsterdam

Tante Truus statue in Amsterdam: Image Source: Wikipedia

My Thoughts:

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