May 2021 Reading Wrap Up

May 31, 2021

May 2021 Reading Wrap Up

May 2021 Reading Wrap Up (collage of book covers over a floral background)

How was your May reading?

Overall, May reading falls into the “mixed bag” category.
I had three DNFs, two 5-star reads, one 4.5-star read, and four 3-star reads, and one 2.5 Star read.

My favorite fiction read of the month was tied between The Invisible Husband of Frick Island and The Forest of Vanishing Stars….two very different reads.


Did we read any of the same books?

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Titles are Amazon affiliate links or my linked reviews
.
ARC=Advanced Readers Copy (complimentary copy for review)


Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley (cover) Image: coral and blue text....individual waves wrap randomly around the text

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley (ARC)

5 Stars. (ARC) Quirky contemporary fiction. My review of Frick Island here.


The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel (cover) Image: the back view of a woman wearing a red coat overlooking a landscape with planes flying overhead

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel (ARC)

5 Stars. (ARC) Compelling Historical Fiction (WW11). Author of The Book of Lost Names. Review coming on July 6, 2021.


Gold and Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi (cover) Image: white text against a dark blue background

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi

4.5 Stars. Historical Fiction (Afghanistan) Author of The Pearl That Broke Its Shell. Review coming June 4, 2021.


Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce (cover) Image: 2 young women sit on a low wall reading one newspaper

Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce (ARC)

3.5 Stars. (ARC) Light Historical Fiction (WW11, London). Author of Dear Mrs. Bird. Review coming August 10, 2021.


The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (cover) Image: white text in the sky over a large house surrounded by green lawn and trees

The Penderwicks (#1) by Jeanne Birdsall

3.5 Stars  Light-hearted Middle Grade family drama. Not reviewed.


Haven Point by Virginia Hume (cover) Image: blue text over a background of a house on the point of a shoreline

Haven Point by Virginia Hume (ARC)

3.5 Stars. (ARC) Light-reading, character-driven family drama. Historical Fiction. My review of Haven Point here.


Beth & Amy by Virginia Kantra (cover) Image: pink lettering on a seafoam green background....graphic images of several young women (walking a dog, playing guitar, walking, etc)

Beth & Amy by Virginia Kantra (ARC)

3.5 Stars. (ARC) Light-reading contemporary family drama (sequel to Meg & Jo). Review of Beth & Amy here.


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The Warsaw Orphan [Book Review]

May 28, 2021

The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer

The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Kimmer (cover) Image: two children walk along the railroad tracks away from the camera

Genre/Categories/Settings: Historical Fiction, WW11, Poland, Jewish, Survival

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Welcome to my stop on the Summer 2021 Historical Fiction Blog Tour. Thank you for the invitation, Justine. Thanks #NetGalley @Harlequin @GraydonHouse for a complimentary eARC of #TheWarsawOrphan by Kelly Rimmer upon my request. All opinions are my own. Pub Date: 6/1/2021.

Harlequin Historical Fiction 2021 Blog Tour Banner (showing the covers of three books)

It’s 1942, and teenage Elzbieta lives in the middle of German-occupied Warsaw. She doesn’t like the Germans who patrol the streets, she resents the curfews, and she’s mostly uninformed about the hardships endured by her Jewish neighbors. On the other hand, she has heard about German brutality and is keeping a secret about her own true identity. Elzbieta makes two friends: her neighbor Sara who involves her in a dangerous world of smuggling children out of the Ghetto and Roman whose family lives in the Ghetto and is in great danger. This is a story of war, family, survival, and love.

My Thoughts:

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A Fall of Marigolds [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

May 27, 2021

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
#throwbackthursday

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner (cover) Image: white text on a blue backbround...marigolds peek into the edges of three corners

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Tragic Events, New York City

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. Today, I’m re-sharing a review of the poignant and compelling A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner, a favorite title by this author.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“A beautiful scarf with a marigold design connects two women who experience traumatic and personally devastating events almost one hundred years apart. Clara witnesses the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 in Manhattan while Taryn witnesses the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Both young women suffer loss and experience the effects of PTSD. This is a story of their healing journey and their decision to risk love again.

“Love comes from Heaven. It is given to us not to hold on to or hide from, but to give away.
Love is the only true constant in a fragile world.
Don’t despair. Be happy. Choose hope.
The freedom to love and be loved, though it shook you to your core, made life exquisite.”

Continue here for my full review of A Fall of Marigolds …

 



QOTD:

Have you read A Fall of Marigolds or is it on your TBR?

Talk Bookish To Me [Book Review]

May 26, 2021

Talk Bookish To Me by Kate Bromley

Talk Bookish To Me by Kate Bromley (cover) (mage: yellow title against a blue background.....a graphic of a young woman riding a bike across the pages of an open book

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Romance, Rom-Com

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @HarlequinBooks for a complimentary eARC of #TalkBookishToMe upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Kara is a romance writer and her best friend is getting married. Pressure mounts as a deadline for her next novel is approaching along with the typical wedding stress and activities. What she wasn’t expecting was for her first love, Ryan, to be a part of the bridal party. Although this unexpected meeting is uncomfortable, his appearance does spark some creative writing and adds some steam to her historical fiction work in progress. Maybe she should embrace this turn of events which would facilitate her writing and ease tensions in the wedding party. Could she save her career and create her own happy ending?

My Thoughts:

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Beth and Amy [Book Review]

May 25, 2021

Beth and Amy by Virginia Kantra

Beth &n Amy by Virginia Kantra (cover) Image: pink text on a seafoam green background...graphic images of young women (playing a guitar, walking a dog, walking, standing next to a goat)

Genre/Categories: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Retelling

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary eARC of #BethAndAmy upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Beth & Amy, a modern retelling of Little Women, is the sequel to Meg & Jo. For full reading satisfaction, I recommend reading them in order.

In this modern retelling, Amy March is a fashion designer in New York and Beth. a talented singer and song writer, is touring with a country music super star. The family reunites for Jo’s wedding and the March sisters once again appreciate the love and support of family as well as the strong bonds of sisterhood.

My Thoughts:

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Never Have I Ever [Book Tag]

May 21, 2021

Never Have I Ever Book Tag

Sometimes I love a distraction from my usual review posts. When a twitter friend, Lili, tagged me, I immediately thought “Talking about the reading life is some good Friday fun!”

I hope you enjoy this Never Have I Ever book tag! You are welcome to join in, too!

Rules:

  • Link back to the original creator! (Madame Writer)
  • Link back to the person who tagged you! (thanks Lili @Blissful Pages)
  • Answer all prompts.
  • Add one more prompt of your own.
  • Tag at least five people.
  • Don’t lie.
  • Have fun!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Prompts:

Never have I Ever.. read a later book in a series – before reading the first book.

I’m a strict “read in order” reader! However, I remember one time when I accidentally read out of order. I was intrigued by a review of Beachside Beginnings by Sheila Roberts. I was in between reads and jumped right into this not realizing that it was #4 in the Moonlight Harbor series! It was fine to read as a stand-alone (in fact, it’s my fav in the series), but I spent the next weekend binge-reading #1-3 in the series! I find it unsettling to read out of order. Do you read out of order or in order?

Never have I Ever.. burned a book.

I can honestly say I’ve never burned a book! LOL I have returned a few kindle books to Amazon after starting them! (benefits of digital reading!) I’ve also deleted a couple that I did finish from my Amazon account and kindle device because I just don’t want to see them. I have thrown a couple in the trash (usually when moving) when I decided there was no redeeming value in keeping them or gifting them. I don’t think I’d discard a book I really hated in a Little Free Library because I don’t receive joy in passing around bad books. I might put books I don’t like in a yard sale because it would be someone’s choice (and possibly their treasure!) to pick it up. I do realize that a book I hated might be a book someone else loves. Bottom line, if I really dislike a book, I want it out of my sight. But, no, I’ve never burned one! How do you feel about keeping books you don’t like?

Never have I Ever.. read a book I knew I would hate.

As a person who reads a lot, I know what I like and don’t like. So I’m not likely to read a book I know I’ll hate. This is difficult because I also suffer from FOMO and love the buzz of reading new releases. One time, I remember reading a book out of my usual genre and having doubts about liking it and ended up loving it and binge reading the 3 installment series in one week. If you’re curious, it was The Hunger Games! This was a case of being leery (not hating), and I’m glad I gave it a chance. If I know I’m going to hate it, I probably would not read it. Life’s too short to read bad books. Have you ever read a book you knew you’d hate?

Never have I Ever.. written a fanfiction about my favorite books.

I’ve never thought about writing fan fiction, and it’s not a category I enjoy reading. So I feel good about my answer. Do you enjoy fan fiction?

Never have I Ever.. loved a book when I was young, yet hated it when I got older.

I’m always leery of reading books I’ve loved in childhood for fear that I can’t capture the magic of that first read. I don’t want to destroy any precious memories. Thus, I’ve never reread Gone With the Wind! (my first histfic book hangover!) Have you reread a beloved childhood book? What was your experience?

Never have I Ever.. dressed up as one of my favorite literary characters.

Because I was an elementary school teacher, literary characters were favorite Halloween costumes among the teachers! One year I was Miss Nelson from Miss Nelson is Missing. Have you ever dressed up as a literary character? Which one?

Never have I Ever.. hated a book by an author I love.

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Paper Hearts [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

May 20, 2021

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott
#throwbackthursday

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott (cover) Image: hand stitched title on a blue background...stitched star in upper left corner

Genre/Categories: WW11, Holocaust, Jewish, Young Adult, Poetry (free verse), Friendship, Survival

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. Today, I’m re-sharing a review of the poignant and compelling Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott, a title on my lifetime favorites list.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My 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 threads 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 and in the image below.”

a beautiful, memorable, and gently written story of friendship and survival…

Continue here for my full review of Paper Hearts ….

Hamdmade collection of heartshaped paper: Holocaust artifact



QOTD:

Have you read Paper Hearts or is it on your TBR?

The Ballynoon Friendship Circle [Book Review]

May 20, 2021

The Ballynoon Friendship Circle by Pauline Morgan

The Ballynoon Friendship Circle by Pauline Morgan (cover) Image: text above and below a graphic image of a quaint small village

Genre/Categories/Settings: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary fiction, Quirky Characters, Romance, Ireland

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Recently widowed and fifty-year-old retired teacher Edel Marston finds a dream cottage in a magazine and makes an impulsive, life-changing decision to move back to Northern Ireland. Faced with a decrepit cottage, a rude neighbor, and no friends, Edel questions the wisdom of her decision and worries that a past secret from her youth might make her the subject of town gossip. Collecting her nerve and embracing a proactive mindset, she joins the local over 50s club (self-named the “Stitch and Bitch” group). The ladies are friendly but gossipy, so she’s reluctant to share details of her private life…..especially a romantic interest in her neighbor, an unpopular member of the community. Can Edel trust her new circle of friends or should she keep her personal life private? Is it too soon after losing her husband to pursue romance?

My Thoughts:

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The Invisible Husband of Frick Island [Book Review]

May 18, 2021

Are you looking for an engaging and lighthearted summer read?

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley (cover) coral and blue text.....random blue waves wrap around the text

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Romance, Quirky Characters

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

On a tiny remote (fictional) island in the middle of Chesapeake Bay, Piper Parrish is grieving the loss of her husband in the most unusual of ways. She appears to think he’s invisible and goes about her daily routine of walking to the docks to meet him and Friday night dinner dates. The townsfolk love her so much that they go along with it and understand that people grieve in many ways. One day, Anders, a young ambitious journalist, comes to town and stumbles upon this story. Anders befriends Piper and spends more and more time with her. Even though he’s a “Come Here” and not a “From Here,” he makes some friends and begins to enjoy the small community…..until everyone finds out about the secret he’s been keeping.

My Thoughts:

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Is Summer Reading Season a Thing?

May 14, 2021

Is Summer Reading Season a Thing?

Is Summer Reading Season a Thing text over a photo background of a woman reading next to water

Image Source: Canva

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Is Summer the Super Bowl of Your Reading Life?

Do you read more in the summer?

Do you have a preferred genre for summer reading?

Do you have a favorite reading season?

Do you like to read

By the Pool?

At the beach?

On your porch swing?

Snuggled on a cozy couch?

Hunkered down in the AC?

On a park bench?

Gif: Summer Reading is here! a large cat holds a book with a shining sun over its shoulder

When my children were young, I could only read late at night (and paid for it the next day). When I was earning my degrees, I didn’t read for pleasure at all. When I taught, summer was definitely my reading season. During the school year, I was preoccupied with lesson plans and grading papers and I was afraid to start a book because I’d get lost in the book and neglect my other responsibilities.

Now that I’m retired, I read every day….I read late at night….I read in bed in the morning. Summer is no longer my main reading season because every day is summer for me now!

An online book club I’m a member of puts out a Summer Reading Guide and it’s a big deal as members seriously plan their summer reading. (a shout out to MMD book club members who are reading this!)

Do you plan your summer reading? Do you consider summer your main reading season or are you more of a winter reader? Or do you read evenly all year and perhaps a bit more on vacation? Or maybe you only read while on vacation?

If you’re a summer reader, what type of books do you like to read in the summer? Do you continue reading your preferred genres or are you looking for something different for summer? Do you pack more books than clothes for a summer vacation? Oh, just me?!

beach reads cartoon

In the summer I continue reading what I usually read for the most part. However, I think that when I take a book to the pool or beach, I like to take a lighter read. That way if I’m interrupted by children or conversation or people watching, I’m able to look up and easily take a break. In other words I probably wouldn’t grab my next intense and heavy histfic. I’m looking for light (but thoughtful) women’s fiction, light memoirs, or essay collections.

With the qualification that ANY book you read at the beach is a BEACH read, here are 20 LIGHTER titles that I’ve read and would recommend for beach (or vacation or backyard) reading this summer. I hope some of these newer and older titles might appeal to you (titles are links to my reviews or Amazon affiliate links):

I could go on! I hope you found an idea here!

Happy Summer Reading Book Friends!

smiling stick figure girl holding an open book (caption: Summer Reading)



QOTD:

Is Summer a big reading season for you?



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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