August 2021 Reading Wrap Up

August 31, 2021

August 2021 Reading Wrap Up

August 2021 Reading Wrap Up (collage of book covers)

How was your August reading?

August was a productive reading month for me.
Out of eleven books, I had three 5-star reads, six 4-star reads, one 3-star read, and one 2-star read.
I’ve now read 81 books towards my year end goal of 100. Do you set a year-end goal?

My favorite fiction read of the month is Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb.


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)


Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (cover) Image: two young women holding promotional materials and wearing hats stand next to a railing on an ocean liner

Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

5 Stars. Historical Fiction. Two sisters restore a relationship. My review of Three Words For Goodbye here.


Other Words For Home by Jasmine Warga (cover) Image: the profile of a young girl wearing a headscarf

Other Words For Home by Jasmine Warga

5 Stars (Middle Grade). Heartfelt refugee story. Not reviewed.


Jaber Crow by Wendell Berry (cover) Image: white text on a maroon background plus the graphic picture os a wide river cutting through rolling hills

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

5 Stars. Literary Fiction. Not reviewed.


Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst (cover) Image: red and blue text over a seaside landscape

Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst

4 Stars. Contemporary Women’s Fiction. Poignant multigenerational story. My review of Our Italian Summer here.


The Funny Thing Aboout Norman Foreman by ???? (cover) Image: a man wearing a red t shirt and brown pants stands at the beginning of a yellow path

The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson

4 Stars. Contemporary Fiction. Quirky and humorous. Mother/Son. Not yet reviewed.


The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson (cover) Image: white block text on a blue background....the letters represent three bookshelves holding books and scenes from the library

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson (ARC)

4 Stars (ARC). Heartfelt book about books/libraries/librarians. My review of Last Chance Library here.


Snowflakes Over the Starfish Cafe by Jessica Redland (cover) Image: a young man and young woman sit at a table outside a rustic cafe that overlooks a cove and a lighthouse....there is snow on the ground and a dog nearby

Snowflakes Over the Starfish Café by Jessica Redland (ARC)

4 Stars. (ARC) Contemporary Women’s Fiction. Romance. My review of Snowflakes Over the Starfish Cafe here.


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The Last Chance Library [Book Review]

August 30, 2021

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson (cover) Image: white block text on a blue background.....text forms 3 shelves which hold graphic images of books and library scenes

Genre/Categories/Settings: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Books About Books, Librarians, Library, English Village

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

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

A shy, lonely, and quirky librarian, June Jones, and a colorful cast of characters band together to fight against the closure of their local public library. Can June find courage for the fight and forge true friendships?

My Thoughts:

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Snowflakes Over the Starfish Cafe [Book Review]

August 27, 2021

Snowflakes Over the Starfish Café by Jessica Redland

Snowflakes Over the Starfish Cafe by Jessica Redland (cover) Image: a young man and woman sit outside at a table near a rustic cafe near a cove of water and a lighthouse

Genre/Categories/Setting: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Family Life, Romance, North Yorkshire Coast

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @bookandtonic @boldwoodbooks for a complimentary eARC of #SnowflakesOverTheStarfishCafe upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Mum had built a legacy around warmth and friendship and I was determined to keep that going.”

Hollie has inherited the Starfish Cafe and works hard at retaining the traditional warmth and friendliness of the small, family-owned, community cafe where everyone knows your name. A fluffy, cute dog causes Hollie and Jake to meet. Both Hollie and Jake are dealing with loss and grief and are hesitant to risk love again. Will they find the courage to trust each other, build a strong friendship, move past loneliness and fear, and find love?

My Thoughts:

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Meet Me in Monaco [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

August 26, 2021

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
#throwbackthursday

Meet Me in Monaco Review

Genre/Categories/Setting:  Romantic Historical Fiction, Royalty, Monaco (the French Riviera)

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 romantic historical fiction, Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Grace Kelly, Hollywood actress, and Prince Rainier of Monaco meet in the 1950s at the Cannes Film Festival, and their story is the backdrop of this imagined love story of a perfumer, Sophie Duval, and a British press photographer, James Henderson. As Sophie develops an exclusive perfume for Grace Kelly and James is an assigned photographer, the wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainer is the setting for the bittersweet and sometimes star-crossed romance of Sophie and James.

The subtitle needs some explanation in that this is a story INSPIRED by the Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier wedding; the wedding is simply a backdrop and not the primary story.

“To be a parfumeur is to be a keeper of memories, Sophie. Every scent will remind you of something, or someone.” 

Continue here for my full review of Meet Me in Monaco…



QOTD:

Have you read Meet Me in Monaco or is it on your TBR?

10 Books I Wish I Could Read Again For the First Time #TopTenTuesday #LetsDiscuss2021

August 24, 2021

Do you love making lists?

10 Books I'd Like To Read Again For the First Time (Image: white text over a background of stacked hardback books)

Image Source: Canva

Top Ten Tuesday:
10 Books I Wish I Could Read Again For the First Time

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I Wish I Could Read Again For the First Time and the 2021 Discussion Challenge hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight.

2021 discussion challenge graphic (a blue bird and red fox and wall clock and stack of books graphic)

This is a difficult topic for me because I believe that first reads are best! I’m a “one and done” reader and I’m not a rereader (well…rarely a rereader). However, there are a few books I’d like to read again for the first time (if I had a time machine) simply to recapture the “book hangover,” the pleasure, or the memorable reading experience.

I’d love to hear from YOU!

If you had a time machine, what is the number one book you’d like to read again for the first time? Do we share any titles?

giphy

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

(in no particular order)

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (cover) Image: an astronaut floats in space tethered to a gold and black object

Project Hail Mary by Any Weir (on audio!)

If you’ve experienced Project Hail Mary you know! If you’ve read the print version, you might want to consider a reread via the audio format! Even though there’s a lot of science and math that I was tempted to skim, I was pleasantly surprised by the alien and the powerful friendship theme in this sci-fi page-turner. Amaze! Amaze! Amaze!


A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza (cover)

A Place For Us by Farheen Fatima Mirza

I will never forget the emotional reading experience that this story provided. I loved the way this book ended with a passage from the father’s point of view! (One of my favorite endings ever.) I wasn’t expecting to hear from the father after a story focused on the women of the family, and it was a poignant and heartfelt reflection that had me in tears (IYKYK). I would adore the chance to read this favorite story (a lifetime favorite) again for the first time. (I wish the author had written a sequel!)


Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (cover)

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Yes, I adore quirky characters striving to live their best lives…..but this is not what this story is about, and the twist at the


Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge (cover)

Castle of Water by Duane Hucklebridge

This is a well-written, fun, escapist read so I might want to read this page-turner again for the first time. Castaway meets Survivors.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society y Mary Ann Shaffer (cover) Image: black text on a postcard....a woman dressed in a red coat stands at a railing overlooking the ocean

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

Guernsey is a delightful and charming read and one of the few books that I’ve actually reread. It checks all my boxes for a feel-good story. I enjoyed it the second time. However, I know I enjoyed my first read best and I’d rather have read it again for the first time than for a reread. (Not reviewed because I read it before I started blogging.) The film adaptation is excellent (and I’ve watched that twice, too!).


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Gilead [Book Review] #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge

August 20, 2021

 Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (cover) Image: white text over the graphic image of a bluish tree)

Genre/Categories/Setting: Literary Fiction, Pulitzer Prize, Fathers and Sons, Family Life, Rural America and Small Towns

I’m linking up today with Deb @ Deb’s World and SueDonna, and Jo for the August installment of #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge

Gilead has been on my virtual bookshelf for years! When I heard about this challenge, I thought this Pulitzer Prize book might be perfect to read! My husband and I both read and enjoyed Gilead, and it has earned a place on both of our lifetime favorites lists. We definitely want to continue with the next three books.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Pulitzer Prize 2005. New York Times Top-Ten Book of 2004. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Marilynne Robinson writes the quiet story of three generations of fathers and sons. faith, and rural life.

My Thoughts:

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The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

August 19, 2021

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal
#throwbackthursday

Unlikely Adventures of Shergill Sisters Review

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Sisters, Family Drama, India

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 family drama, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“To honor their mother’s dying wish, three Punjabi sisters travel to India on a pilgrimage to visit sacred places that are special to Mom and to scatter her ashes. Told from the three perspectives of three very different sisters, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters explores sibling relationships, modern vs traditional roles of women, secrets, and the importance of family.”

Can three very different sisters living three vastly different lives come together to honor their mother’s last dying wish of traveling to India and scattering her ashes?

Continue here for my full review of The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters…



QOTD:

Have you read The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters or is it on your TBR?

10 Bookish Confessions From an Ardent Bibliophile #TopTenTuesday

August 17, 2021

“Spinning the TTT Topic”

10 Bookish Confessions From an Ardent Bibliophile

10 Bookish Confessions From an Ardent Bibliophile (white text over a background of a woman reading in a hammock)

Image Source: Canva

Today, I’m linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Places I Love to Read.

The dilemma here is that I can read ALMOST ANYWHERE and I love to read EVERY WHERE! So a more interesting SPIN on this topic is places and circumstances in which I CANNOT read….thus a confession of sorts.

Top Ten Tuesday (meme)

If you’ve clicked over from That Artsy Reader Girl, Welcome! Please look around and enjoy your stay.

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I can read almost any where and at almost any time!

Readers Gonna Read!

♦ Late at night (into the wee hours) ♦ During most TV programs ♦ Outside or inside ♦ At sporting events ♦ At coffee shops ♦ While standing in line ♦ Waiting rooms ♦ When it’s quiet or noisy ♦ Sitting in a comfy chair, at a table, or on a sofa ♦ In bed ♦ While cooking (e-books or audio books makes it easier!) ♦ Inside or outside ♦ During cold or warm seasons ♦ Instead of other projects ♦ In the bath ♦ At Disneyland (yes I read an entire book one day when my children were old enough to be on their own and had “check-in” times!) ♦ During meals ♦ …

Of all the places and times I read, late at night is probably my favorite because once the house is quiet I can immerse myself in another world for endless hours! However, I don’t have a favorite place or location.

Here’s my confession regarding the Top Ten circumstances in which I CANNOT read!

  1.  I CANNOT read early in the morning (although I can stay up all night reading, I can’t wake up early to read….usually because I’ve been up too late!). I would fall asleep immediately.
  2. I CANNOT read a physical copy while I’m walking (on a sidewalk or treadmill) or while on an exercise bike.
  3. I CANNOT read during my favorite TV shows even though I can otherwise read in the same room while the TV is on. My favorite shows that dictate I set aside my book include The Rookie, Blue Bloods, This is Us, Chicago Fire, NCIS, Jeopardy!, and Gymnastics during the Olympics.
  4. I CANNOT read while children are swimming in my pool (I keep a careful eye on young swimmers at all times).
  5. I CANNOT read an audio book while sitting still……they immediately put me to sleep or my mind wanders! (audio books work for me while driving probably because I’m accustomed to listening to talk radio). Even listening to an audio book while doing chores is too distracting for me. Basically, any time my mind is free to wander, it will!
  6. And this is the most SHOCKING! I CANNOT read at the beach! It’s not for a lack of trying. In fact, I always have a book with me. The sound of the surf and ambiance of the environment overpowers me.
  7. I have DIFFICULTY reading during troubling times. I noticed that in 2020, it was difficult to read during the onset of the Pandemic. When I could focus, my brain craved lighter books and escapist reads. I had no interest in historical fiction during the earliest months of the Pandemic. After about six months, my reading mojo began to return.
  8. I CANNOT read physical books with light, tiny font! I’m used to being able to enlarge the print on my kindle, so on the rare occasion I pick up a physical book and the font is small and the print is light, it’s ANNOYING for me to read and it negatively affects my reading experience! I’m spoiled by my kindle.
  9. I CANNOT push through and read a book I’m not enjoying. Life’s too short to read bad books…or books not to my taste. (see my DNF post here)
  10. I CANNOT reread….at least I RARELY reread. Once I’ve already had the experience, I’m done. The few times I have reread a book, I didn’t derive the same pleasure from the experience as I did the first time. I’m not opposed to rereading….I reread Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Book Thief before the movies came out. I reread The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry because I was desperate for something to read one weekend and couldn’t find a kindle deal and my library hold hadn’t come in and I was caught up on ARCs.  Fikry was already on my Kindle and it had been years since I read it, so in order to have something to read, I dove in. I actually enjoyed my reread! But rereading is not something I do often or seek out like some readers.

Whew! That was difficult for a hard-core reader like me to come up with 10 examples of when I don’t read!



QOTD:

Do you have a favorite place to read?
Do you have circumstances in which it’s difficult or impossible to read?



Happy Reading Bookworms!

“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 reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

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Happy Reading Bookworms!

“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



***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. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

The book covers and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s website.

© ReadingLadies.com

The Bookseller’s Secret [Excerpt]

August 16, 2021

The Bookseller’s Secret by Michelle Gable: Excerpt

The Bookseller's Secret by Michelle Gable (cover) Image: a young woman in a blue dress stands with her back to the camera looking out a set of windows

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction, Famous Author, WW11, London

*This post contains Amazon affiliate link

My Summary:

Welcome to my stop on Harlequin Trade Publishing’s 2021 Summer Blog Tours for Historical Fiction.

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

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

The Bookseller’s Secret is a story about real-life literary icon Nancy Mitford told in two timelines: present day and the 1940s. In the past timeline, Nancy is a discouraged writer who is tempted to abandon her writing career when she decides to manage the Heywood Hill bookshop while the owner is fighting in the war. A French officer encourages her to write a memoir to reignite her passion for writing. In the present day timeline, a young woman also searching for writing inspiration in the midst of her own life changing events joins the search for Nancy Mitford’s long lost manuscript. There is a great deal of mirroring between the past and present day timelines in this dialogue-driven story.

Excerpt:

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Our Italian Summer [Book Review]

August 13, 2021

Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst

Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst (cover) Image: a beautiful sunny Italian coast lined with villas

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Mothers/Daughters, Family Life, Italy

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Special thanks to Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den (@srbetler on Twitter and Bookstagram) for the giveaway win and a shout out to Gina @ Gina Rae Mitchell (@GinaRaeMitchell on Twitter and Bookstagram) for the recommendation!

With individual reasons for wanting or not wanting this trip, a grandmother, her daughter, and her granddaughter travel to Italy for a month’s summer vacation. Sophia, the grandmother, feels that this might be her last chance to visit her homeland and also hopes it will be an opportunity for her daughter and granddaughter to heal their relationship; Francesca, her daughter, is a workaholic and a single mom (by choice) and is suddenly having difficulty with Allegra, her teenage daughter. It’s the trouble that Allegra gets into that finally convinces Francesca that a trip to Italy might be the best option for them even though it will be difficult to extract herself from work. Although Sophia and Allegra are close and share a love of cooking, tensions run high for both of them when Francesca is around. Will this trip to Italy be Sophia’s dream of a lifetime? Most important, will this trip help heal relationships?

My Thoughts:

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