February 2021 Reading Wrap Up

February 27, 2021

February 2021 Reading Wrap Up

February 2021 Reading Wrap Up (Image: a collage of book covers)

How was your February reading?

It feels like February was a short book-reading month: I had zero five-star reads, six four-star reads, one three-star read, and one two-star read. Find all my February 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. One-star reads are usually shelved as DNF.

My favorite read of the month is Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan followed closely by The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee.

Did we read any of the same books?

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Titles are Amazon affiliate links and my available reviews are linked
.
ARC=Advanced Readers Copy


Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan (cover) Image: a woman stands against a rail with her back to the camera overlooking a harbor

Surviving Savannah (ARC) by Patti Callahan

4.5  Stars (rounded to 5) (ARC). Compelling and unputdownable historical fiction.
Pub Date: 3/9/21 Review: 3/5/21.


The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (cover) Image: a teenage Asian girl wearing a fancy hat in an 1890s style

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

4 Stars. (YA) Engaging Historical Fiction (non WW11). My review of Downstairs Girl here.


Love is a Revolution by Renee Watson (cover) Image: a picture of a plus size Black girl surrounded by four smaller images of the same girl and her boyfriend

Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson

4 Stars. (YA)  Contemporary Fiction. Review of Love Is a Revolution here.


Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (cover) Image: white text with a maroon top and bottom border and branches with white blooms

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

4 Stars  Historical Fiction (classic).


Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West (cover) Image: a young woman stands in profile against a pink, orange, and yellow background

Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West

4 Stars. Contemporary Fiction.


The Woman With the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff (cover) Image: a tight focus on a pair of red shoes and a drawing of the Star of David on a cobblestone path

The Woman With the Blue Star (ARC) by Pam Jenoff

4 Stars. (ARC) WW11 Historical Fiction.
Pub Date: 5/4/21 Review: 5/3/21


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#BlackHistoryMonth: 10 Reading Ideas

February 26, 2021

10 Reading Ideas for Black History Month

black history month

Image Source: Canva

I support reading Black authors all year, especially in February.

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: 5 of my most recent reads and 5 older must reads.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.



5 Recommended Recent Reads



Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly Baptist (cover) Image: the back view of a middle grade boy wearing a blue superhero cape and holding a pencil

Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist (Middle Grade) My review of Isaiah Dunn here.


Love is a Revolution by Renee Watson (cover) Image: a picture of a plus size Black girl surrounded by four smaller images of the same girl and her boyfriend

Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson (YA) My review of Love Is a Revolution here.


Piecing Me Together

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson (MG) Not yet reviewed, but this is a lovely Middle Grade read!


Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West (cover) Image: a young woman stands in profile against a pink, orange, and yellow background

Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West  Emotionally difficult and well written.


Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (cover) Image: white text with a maroon top and bottom border and branches with white blooms

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston An emotional and intense classic.



5 Highly Recommended Must Reads



These are books that I’ve read in the past years that are on my must read and highly recommended list.

just mercy

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (Memoir, Non Fiction, Racial Tension and Injustice). 4 Stars. My review of Just Mercy here.


Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (cover) Image: gold text on light pink (top half) and black (bottom half) background

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (family drama, addiction, faith and science, mental health)
5 Stars. My review of Transcendent Kingdom here.


Homegoing

Homegoing by Yaa Guasi (historical fiction, family multi generational saga)
This book is ambitious in its structure and memorable in its story telling….it hasn’t received enough attention! 5 Stars.


The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson  (historical narrative nonfiction). 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). A must read.


The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (contemporary fiction, racial tensions, YA)
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement. 5 Stars. My review of THUG Here.



QOTD:

Did you find a book to add to your TBR?

Share your own recommendations in comments!



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 covers are credited to Amazon.

© ReadingLadies.com



The Invention of Wings [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

February 25, 2021

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
#throwbackthursday

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (cover) Image: white text over a reddish orangish landscape that has birds flying low over the water

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Abolition of Slavery, Women’s Rights, African-American, Plantation Life

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m eager to share my review of a book on my lifetime favorites list, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.compelling historical fiction.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

The Invention of Wings is a fictionalized biographical account of the real-life Grimke sisters as they become trailblazers in the abolition movement and early leaders in the fight for women’s rights.

The story takes place in the pre Civil War era and begins on a plantation in Charleston. On the occasion of Sarah Grimke’s eleventh birthday, she’s presented with her own slave, ten-year old Hetty “Handful” Grimke. Sarah has always been uncomfortable with this tradition. At first, Sarah and Handful are more like sisters and playmates as they develop a friendly companionship. As the story progresses, Sarah leaves Charleston to join her adventurous and fearless sister, Angelina, in the north as early pioneers in the fight for abolition and women’s rights. We follow Sarah’s and Hetty’s journeys for thirty-five years as both women strive to carve out a life of their own and navigate a close and complex relationship.”

A fictionalized biographical account of the Grimke sisters as they become trailblazers in the abolition movement and early leaders in the fight for women’s rights.

Continue here for my full review of The Invention of Wings ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Invention of Wings or is it on your TBR?

10 Books That Made Me Smile #TopTenTuesday

February 23, 2021

10 Books That Made Me Smile #TopTenTuesday

10 Books That Made Me Smile (image: a woman seated with her hand at her chin looking up and laughing)

Image Source: Canva

Top Ten Tuesday (meme)

What is the last book that made you smile?

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Make Me Laugh Out Loud. (Except that I haven’t read any that actually made me laugh out loud, so I’m tweaking this for books that made me smile!)

It’s posts like these that cause me to realize that the majority of my reading is really intense! I do love Quirky Characters, so mostly quirky characters provide the levity in my reading life.

These are the first ten books that I came across in my Goodreads list that brought a smile to my face. While none are hilarious or laugh out loud funny, each one has some funny or heartwarming moments that make my reading heart light and happy. Obviously, my list is heavily quirky character-driven! (Looking at you Backman!)

See my similar post (with a few different titles) published on July 14, 2020.

 *This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


How to Raise An Elephant, by Alexander McCall Smith

Kind, gracious, and wise Mma Precious Ramotswe and a cast of quirky supporting characters and the culture of Botswana bring many smiles to my face. This recent release of the No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency had one laugh out loud moment as the guys attempt to transport a baby elephant in Mma Ramotswe’s van. If you are looking for easy-reading, gentle, comfort reads with likable characters and uplifting themes, this series might be a good option.

How to Raise an Elephant by Alexander McCall Smith (cover) Image: a baby elephant and parent elephant walking with trunks linked


The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Smart, snappy, and humorous writing with a likable and quirky character will bring a smile to your face. (skip Ch 5 if you are would rather not read crude humor)

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill


Things My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman

If you have children in your life, Backman’s essays on parenthood will bring a smile to your face. My review of Things My Son Needs to Know here.

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman (cover)


This Won’t End Well by Camille Pagán

Some snappy writing, a quirky character, and an enemies to lovers trope will bring a smile to your face. My review of This Won’t End Well here.

This Won't End Well (cover) ....a young woman peeking through some bushes

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The Downstairs Girl [Book Review]

February 19, 2021

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (author) Image: a teenage Asian girl wearing a fancy hat in an 1890 style

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Asian-American, Prejudice, Racism, Coming of Age

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

The Downstairs Girl is set in 1890s Atlanta where a Chinese-American girl having no voice challenges racial and gender issues. Let go from her job at a milliner’s shop because she was a “saucebox,” seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan now works as a lady’s maid for the cruel and spoiled daughter of a wealthy man. Jo and Old Gin (affectionately thought of as “grandfather”) have always lived secretly in the basement below a newspaper man’s family. Jo loves WORDS and writing and so one day, Jo has the idea to write a column for the newspaper in order to help them build their readership and compete with the other newspaper in town. At night, she writes the column and drops her submissions in their mailbox. Her column, Dear Miss Sweetie, becomes popular for its modern and controversial opinions and the talk of the town. Meanwhile in her day life, Jo struggles to survive her ordeals as a lady’s maid and also plans a dangerous investigation to find her biological father who had abandoned her as a baby.

My Thoughts:

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The Clockmaker’s Daughter [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

February 18, 2021

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
#throwbackthursday

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton (cover) Image: a close up picture of a clock face with roman numerals...title and author printed above and below the hands

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Supernatural

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these popular reads, and today I’m sharing my review of The Clockmaker’s Daughter….a histfic paranormal mystery.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“Told in present and past timelines and from multiple perspectives,  The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a multilayered story with a mystery to unravel. In the present day, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel which contains a mysterious sketchbook and an old photo. Elodie is curious about the drawing of the twin-gabled house situated on the bend of the river thinking that it resembles the house from a favorite fairy tale she heard from her mother, and she’s drawn to the beautiful and mysterious Victorian woman pictured in the photo. As Elodie proceeds to investigate the items, a voice that stands outside of time transports readers to the 1860s and the life-changing event that happens in the summer of 1862.  During that summer, artists meet at the twin-gabled house on the Thames, known as Birchwood Manor, to relax and inspire their art and creativity. Instead, they experience the unpleasant circumstances of a murder, a missing person, and a stolen family heirloom. Her name has been forgotten by history, but Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter, watched it all unfold.”

mysterious….atmospheric…..supernatural…..complex….

Continue here for my full review of The Clockmaker’s Daughter ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Clockmaker’s Daughter or is it on your TBR?

Love Is a Revolution [Book Review]

veFebruary 16, 2021

Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson

Love is a Revolution by Renee Watson (cover) Image: a plus size Black girl is centered....4 smaller images of the same girl and her boyfriend sound her

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Young Adult Fiction, African-American, Coming of Age

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Nala Robertson meets a cute boy, Tye Brown, at open mic night. They experience an instant attraction but Nala is worried because they have very different interests….Tye is an activist, a vegetarian, and a community organizer while Nala would rather stay home and watch movies and enjoy a juicy, fully-loaded hamburger. Nala finds herself lying to Tye to foster a foundation of common interests and to encourage him to keep asking her out. As much as this is a cute romance on the surface, the story is more substantially about loving others as well as yourself, discovering the things that are truly important to you, and embracing your authentic self.

My Thoughts:

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Happy Friday! #ThePositivityWave

February 12, 2021

Hello and Happy Friday!

I’m joining with Meggy @ Chocolate’n’Waffles to spread some positivity among all the political drama/pandemic updates on social media and in the news. Please feel free to join in with your own Happy Friday post and link to Meggy. Thanks to Carla @Carla Loves to Read for your consistent inspiration!

I haven’t posted a Positivity Friday post since November of 2019! Yikes!

#positivity #gratitude

Positivity

Gratitude and Positivity are FREE and make every day BETTER!

 

Vaccinations!

I’m thrilled to report that I have received my first Covid-19 Vaccination and I am actually driving down this afternoon to receive my second dose! (a bit like the Hunger Games out there vying for an appointment though!) Honestly, I doubted we’d ever get to this point! It’s been a very long haul requiring heaps of patience, endurance, and hope. I often think of my beloved WW11 histfic characters and all they endured and remind myself that I may be under lock-down, but I have technology, wifi, zoom, blogging, books (digital), texting, drive-through fast food, grocery shopping online, and curbside pickup! As we all adjusted, built up our stash of toilet paper, obtained a supply of masks, worked from home, or home-schooled, it was doable….but I still miss gathering for family parties and celebrations, going to the movies, going to the stadium for baseball games, and dining inside restaurants. How is it going in your corner of the world? Have you had access to a vaccination? Are you under strict lock-down or are life activities getting back to normal?

COVID-19 Vaccine (image of a syringe and vial)

Blog Views and 500th Post!

In January, I enjoyed my best ever month for views (what a great surprise and boost!),  and I recently posted my 500th blog post! Thank you to each of you for your support, visits, comments, and shares! Reading people are the best people!

500th post (white text over a sunburst background)

Books to Movies!

Does the prospect of your favorite book coming to the big screen bring you joy?! Although I had to forgo the big screen experience because our theaters are closed, I recently purchased the News of the World release through ON DEMAND with my cable provider (trailer here). I think the DVD will be released in April. It’s always a thrill to see a book to film adaptation (although the book is always better!).

movie night

Book and Authors!

Reading is saving my life during the Pandemic! I’m extremely thankful for dear authors and their engaging stories! I read more books in 2020 than ever before (131!). For a few months my pandemic brain craved HEA and lighter fiction. Now I’m back to reading my usual genres. How about you? Has the pandemic affected your reading life?

More authors also participated in online events during the Pandemic! I was able to watch several events including this lovely interview with favorite author, Louise Penny.

a drawing a young woman reading while sitting on a stack of books among many stacks of books (when I've had enough of reality, I just open a book)

Inspirational!

The best thing about the Super Bowl was this performer signing the National Anthem! Enjoy!

Spiritual!

Since the beginning of the pandemic, these words comfort me.

Steadfast love of the lord



QOTD: What are you feeling Positive about today? 



Becoming Mrs. Lewis [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

February 11, 2021

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
#throwbackthursday

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan (cover) Image: a woman in a red long sleeved dress and hat walks though a set of columns with her back to the camera

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Biographical, Love Story, Marriage

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m eager to share my review of the page-turning Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan.a love story.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“Struggling with an unhappy marriage, her writing career and health, and matters of faith, Joy Davidman begins writing to well-known author, C.S. Lewis (Jack). Joy and Jack are both writers and poets and experience a robust and heartfelt correspondence through which they develop a warm and intellectual friendship. Soon, Joy takes a break from her unpredictable, angry, drunken husband and travels to England in hopes of restoring her health, finding inspiration for her writing projects, and meeting C.S. “Jack” Lewis. After spending time with Jack and enjoying a mutual fondness, Joy begins to realize her growing love for him. Despite a lack of personal financial resources and continuing heartbreak over her circumstances, Joy finds the courage to risk it all and the voice to end her marriage and move permanently to England. Through her great friendship with Lewis she finds enduring love, a trusted friend and confidant, and a true writing partner. During this time in history (1950s), Joy’s independence and decisions regarding her marriage and children were most likely questioned. In addition, Jack received criticism for his involvement with a divorced woman. However, we know that Jack called her “my whole world” and upon her death he wrote his popular “A Grief Observed.” In this biographical historical fiction you will be treated to a poignant love story along with beautiful descriptions of England and bookish references.”

Their relationship involves a respect and admiration for the other’s intellectual and creative endeavors, a shared love of nature and the mystical, a deep friendship, as well as romance.

Continue here for my full review of Becoming Mrs. Lewis ….



QOTD:

Have you read Becoming Mrs. Lewis or is it on your TBR?

Ladies of the House [Book Review]

February 10, 2021

Ladies of the House by Lauren Edmondson

Ladies of the House by Lauren Edmondson (cover) Image: a close up view of a 2 or 3 story house, a white blossomed tree in the foreground

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction, Family Drama, Sisters, Mothers/Daughters

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you, #NetGalley #Harlequin for the complimentary e ARC of #LadiesOfTheHouse upon my request. All opinions are my own.

A modern Sense and Sensibility……

In a loose, contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, thirty-four-year-old Daisy finds herself embarrassed by a family scandal. Her Senator father died suddenly in the company of his young mistress and he has also left the family in financial ruin. Daisy, her mother, Cricket, and her sister, Wallis, work frantically to save the family reputation and put their upscale house up for sale while at the same time negotiate the land mines of their personality differences and conflicts and the unrelenting media attention.

My Thoughts:

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