TTT: Ten Irresistible Book Titles

October 15, 2019

Ten Irresistible Book Titles

TTT Irresistible Book Titles

***Book titles are Amazon affiliate links; my reviews are linked as available

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Extraordinary Book Titles.

Ten Irresistible Book Titles

Do titles influence your reading choices?

This is not the only way I choose a book, but sometimes titles are irresistible! I’ve listed examples of a few irresistible titles (all titles are also highly recommended). There are so many more! What are some of your favorite irresistible titles?  (listed in no particular order). 


The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
by Kim Michele Richardson

My review here

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek


The Pearl That Broke Its Shell
by Nadia Hashimi

My review here

Pearl That Broke its Shell


How to Find Love in a Bookshop
by Veronica Henry

My review here

How to find love in a bookstore


Castle of Water
by Duane Hucklebridge

My review here

Castle of Water


The Lost for Words Bookshop
by Stephanie Butland

My review here

The Lost for Words Bookshop


If You Want to Make God Laugh
by Bianca Marais

My review here

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Happy Friday! #ThePositivityWave

October 11, 2019

Hello and Happy Friday!

I’m joining with Meggy @ Chocolate’n’Waffles to spread some positivity among all the doom and gloom 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 Nicki at The Secret Library Book Blog and Jonetta at The Blue Mood Cafe for the inspiration!
#positivity #gratitude

Positivity

Gratitude and Positivity are FREE and make every day BETTER!

Positively Delicious!

Enjoyed a giant bakery peanut butter cookie this week!
What is your favorite cookie?

peanut butter cookie

Great TV!

U. S. “World Series” Games

Even though the Dodgers lost, I enjoy baseball playoff season…..especially cheering for an underdog!

World Series 2019

Blog Stats!

Last month, I celebrated a record number of views! Thank you so much for following, sharing, and reading! I appreciate each of you! Your views and comments mean so much to me and give me a great deal of encouragement! THANK YOU for your support!

thank you

Book to Movie News!

One of my favorite books is becoming a movie!
News of the World by Paulette Jiles. Have you read it?

Tom Hanks is in New Mexico filming News of the World!
December 25, 2020 release!

News of the World

Spiritual!

Steadfast love of the lord



QOTD: What are you feeling Positive about today? 



 

The Women of the Copper Country: A Review

October 10, 2019

Annie Clements is called “America’s Joan of Arc”

The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell

The Women of Copper Country Revieew

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Michigan, Mining, Activism, Biographical, Union

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

In July of 1913, twenty-five-year-cold Annie Clements has seen enough of the unfair working conditions in the mining town of Calumet, Michigan and decides it’s time to fight for a change. The men who work in the copper mines endure long hours, dangerous conditions, and low wages. Annie organizes and encourages the women to support a strike, but she also faces possible imprisonment, her husband’s anger, and personal threats. The Women of the Copper Country is a fictionalized account of the courageous efforts of women to organize a strike in the early history of the labor movement.

My Thoughts:

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TTT: Traits That Help Me Fall in Love With Characters

October 7, 2019

Traits that Help Me Fall in Love With Characters

 

 

***Some book titles are Amazon affiliate links; my reviews are linked for other titles

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Character Traits.

My Favorite Character Traits

Do you have favorite character traits?

One of the greatest joys of reading is the characters we encounter! I admit that I have a difficult time appreciating stories with unlikeable characters unless there is significant character growth or a major redemption theme. When I look back at my favorite books, they all include memorable and unforgettable characters. I think my very favorite character traits are found in WW11 stories. But traits like courage, determination, sacrifice, and grit can be found in other genres as well. The following is only a sample of a few of my favorite character traits.  (listed in no particular order). 


Bravery

to Live Your Best Life

Examples: Eleanor (Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine), Lovejoy ( The Lost For Words Bookshop), Harold (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry)
(find my post about quirky characters living their best lives here)

 


Actions

That Make a Difference For Others

Examples: Caroline (Lilac Girls), Cussy (The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek), Grimke Sisters (Invention of Wings)

 


Compassionate

(especially toward children)

Examples: the Captain (News of the World), Cussy (The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek)

 



Perseverance

in the Face of Dire Circumstances

Examples: Cilka (Cilka’s Journey), Zlatka and Fania Paper Hearts), Dita (The Librarian of Auschwitz), Ma (Room)

 


Loyalty

to Family

Examples: Kurc family (We Were the Lucky Ones),

we were the lucky ones

 


Courage, Determination, and Grit

Against the Odds

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Happy Friday! #ThePositivityWave

October 4, 2019

Hello and Happy Friday!

I’m joining with Meggy @ Chocolate’n’Waffles to spread some positivity among all the doom and gloom 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 Nicki at The Secret Library Book Blog and Jonetta at The Blue Mood Cafe for the inspiration!
#positivity #gratitude

Positivity

Gratitude and Positivity are FREE and make every day BETTER!

Panera Bread Autumn Squash Soup!

Yes, my favorite Panera Bread soup is in season!

autumn squash soup

Great TV!

PBS Documentary, History of Country Music

Even if country music isn’t your favorite, you will appreciate this well-done documentary and its content comprised of fascinating narrative, historical facts, and famous artists! As soon as my husband and I finished, we exclaimed, “Let’s watch it all again!”

Johnny Cash

Bookstagram Buddy Reads!

If you don’t have a book club, consider joining with bookish people on Instagram for buddy reads! There are plenty of opportunities to join book chats or create your own! I just finished buddy reads for The Vanished Bride and If You Want to Make God Laugh. Right now, I’m in a buddy read with @fictionophile56 @cometreadings and @nurse_bookie for an ARC of The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae.

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

Six Years Old!

When it’s your six-year-old birthday, you win the positivity and excitement award with your new riding toy! Six-year-old birthdays are the best!

Spiritual!

do not fear quote



QOTD: What are you feeling Positive about today? 



The Medallion: A Review

October 3, 2019

The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

“When all seems lost, God can make a way forward.”

The Medallion Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, Holocaust, Jewish, Christian

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

1939 Warsaw is the setting for this harrowing, heartfelt, and inspirational WW11 tale of survival, courage, loss, hope, risk, and faith. Sophie works in the city library, and her husband, Janek, is deployed with the Polish Air Force. When the Germans invade Warsaw in 1939 and streets become a dangerous war zone, Sophie feels compelled to help friends and strangers. Rosa and Itzhak are pregnant with their first child when they seek shelter in the Jewish ghetto. When Itzhak leaves her to check on the safety of his family, Rosa faces the horrific possibility of sending their small child into hiding to save her life, but first Rosa cuts a medallion (the Jewish Tree of Life) in half and places half around her young daughter’s neck. She prays that this will be enough to reunite them after the war.

We follow the lives of these two memorable couples whose worlds are torn apart and, in post-war years, connected by a shared love for a young daughter.

Amazon Rating: 4.8 Stars

My Thoughts:

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1st Line/1st Paragraph: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

 October 1, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

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.

First Paragraph

I’m pleased to share a passage from The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland. This is an ARC and will be available for purchase on October 29, 2019. Have you read this author’s previous book, The Lost For Words Bookshop? (find my review of that here)

From Amazon:

“For fans of Josie Silver’s One Day in December, The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae is a wholly original, charismatic, and uplifting novel that no reader will soon forget.

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live. She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that—just in time—saved her life. Now, finally, she can be a normal twenty-eight-year-old. She can climb a mountain. Dance. Wait in line all day for tickets to Wimbledon.

But first, she has to put one foot in front of the other. So far, things are as bloody complicated as ever. Her relationship with her mother is at a breaking point and she wants to find her father. Then there’s Lennox, whom Ailsa loved and lost. Will she ever find love again?

Her new heart is a bold heart. She just needs to learn to listen to it. From the hospital to her childhood home, on social media and IRL, Ailsa will embark on a journey about what it means to be, and feel, alive. How do we learn to be brave, to accept defeat, to dare to dream?

From Stephanie Butland, author of The Lost for Words Bookshop, The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae will warm you from the inside out.”


The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae
by Stephanie Butland

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, organ donation

1st Line/1st Paragraph From Chapter One:

It’s 3 a.m. here in cardio-thoracic.
All I can do for now is doze, and think, and doze again. My heart is getting weaker, my body bluer. People I haven’t seen for a while are starting to drop in. We all pretend we’re not getting ready to say goodbue. It seems easiest. But my mother cries when she thinks I’m sleeping, so maybe here, now, is the time to admit that I might really be on the way out.
I should be grateful. A baby born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome a few years before I was would have died within days. I’ve had twenty-eight years and I’ve managed to do quite a bit of living in them. (Also, I’ve had WAY more operations than you every day folk. I totally win on that.) OK, so I still live at home and I’ve never had a job and I’m blue around the edges because there’s never quite enough oxygen in my system. But…
Actually, but nothing. If you’re here tonight for the usual BlueHeart cheerfulness-in-the-teeth-of-disaster, you need to find another blogger.

Within the first few pages, we find out that Ailsa receives her heart transplant, names her new heart Apple, and begins to spend her days figuring out how to live now that she’s not facing certain, early death. Ailsa is a blogger, and the story appears to be written in memoir style. Paging through the book, I notice that the format includes first-person blog entries and emails, articles, and narrative passages written in third-person.

I’m eager to dive into this after enjoying The Lost For Words Bookshop by the same author. Here is my review of Lost For Words.



QOTD:

Do you enjoy issue-centered books?

Is The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae on your TBR?



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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.

September Reading Wrap Up

September 30, 2019

September Reading Wrap Up

\September Reading Wrap Up

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

September was a mixed result reading month. Three DNFs had me spinning my wheels and took time away from the number of books I wanted to read. I read a total of six books, and I am happy to report that one of those was a five-star read. Find all my September 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 (this month brought me one of these). One star reads are usually shelved as DNF.

My favorite read of the month is The Dearly Beloved; in fact, it will likely be my best read of the year.

Did we read any of the same books?

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


 The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

5+ Stars. Thought-provoking and memorable complicated family drama. My full review here.


Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

5 Stars. Page-turning historical fiction. My full review here.


The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

4.5 Stars. A harrowing, heartfelt, and inspirational WW11 tale of survival, courage, loss, hope, and faith. Goodreads review here.


If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

4.5 Stars. For fans of Hum if You Don’t Know the Words. My full review here.

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Honest Reviews

September 29, 2019

Do I Write Honest Reviews?

Writing Honest Reviews

My TL:DR answer to “Do I Write Honest Reviews” is Yes, you can trust that my reviews are honest.

Here’s the explanation:

Several book review bloggers have written posts on this topic, and I want to join this discussion so that my response will be an official statement on this blog.

“What raises this question?”

I notice two circumstances that can cause followers to ask the question:
1. You occasionally receive free books … can you really express an honest opinion when the book is free?
2. It seems suspicious that book reviews on this blog almost always earn four or five stars … can you honestly give every book four or five stars?

“Do you wonder if my reviews are honest?”

When I first started my blog over two years ago, I determined that my purpose for the blog is to offer readers my best recommendations for great reads. Therefore, week after week, followers will see almost all four and five-star reviews on this blog. This does not mean that I give every book I read four or five stars. It means that on the blog I select the best of what I read for review posts. If you follow me on Goodreads, you can see ALL the books I read and notice that I give a wide range of star ratings. There are many books I review on Goodreads that never make it to the blog. I read an average of ten to twelve books a month. I publish approximately four or five reviews per month, so only about 50% of what I read receives a blog post.

One reason I choose not to publish blog reviews of lower-rated books is because of the power of an image. Let me explain….. if you see the cover of a book on my blog, that image stays with you more than what I’ve said about the book. My fear is that when you are in Costco or Barnes and Noble, you will see a book cover and remember seeing that same cover on my blog and not remember that the book wasn’t to my taste and that I didn’t highly recommend it. You’ll buy the book because you think “I saw that on Carol’s blog” and then if you don’t like it, you will wonder why it was on my blog and not trust me again! I realize that some book bloggers review everything they read on their blog and leave it up to followers to take responsibility to find the gems. Because that doesn’t fit with my original vision for the blog, it may appear that I’m giving everything I read four or five stars and this leads some followers to question whether or not they trust me to give an honest review (because not every book is a four or five-star read).

One reason I hesitate to publish a monthly wrap up where I list every book I read in that month is that I fear you will see the cover and think I’m recommending it. For my monthly wrap up posts, I try to be very clear about my star ratings and hope that followers are paying attention!

Always keep in mind that no two readers ever read the same book and that you may have a very different opinion about the book! The four and five star reads I recommend here may be a one star read for you. I think over time that book review bloggers attract followers with similar tastes!

Also, I need to state here that I read every book that I review and recommend. I always hesitate to publish my TBR or other posts that contain covers of books I haven’t read. If I review a book, you can be certain that I’ve read it.


“If I receive a FREE ARC, am I required to give a good review?”

I do receive free books from time to time and that is always clearly stated before I begin my review. Even though I have received the book for free, I strive to be honest in my review. Because I care about authors and their work, I try to state any disappointments in the read as kindly as possible. I vet books as carefully as possible and I don’t accept certain genres so that I’m not caught in an uncomfortable position. So far, I have contacted an author only once and explained why I couldn’t review her book on my blog (the content was not what my followers expect me to recommend). If I can’t give a free book a four or five-star rating, I review it on Goodreads where I feel more comfortable giving two and three stars. If it happens that I will likely give the book a one-star rating, I will contact the publisher or author to let them know I will not be reviewing the book. You can be assured that if you see a free book reviewed on my blog or Goodreads, that my opinion is an honest one. I am not afraid to share honest opinions.

In addition, I want to emphasize that I have never experienced pressure from a publisher or an author for a certain star rating or a positive review. When I receive free books, it’s with the understanding that I will give an honest opinion.

My Five Star Rating Scale

5 stars (excellent) twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-star

  • given sparingly to the very best books, exceptional in every way, beautifully written, an important high impact book (lots of substance), unputdownable, ponder it for days and weeks after finishing, always a highly recommended must-read, important themes, a ddefinite WOW factor that gives me a “book hangover”

4 stars (great) twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-star

  • very enjoyable on many levels, important themes, frequently recommended, has a lot of substance, WOW factor

3 stars (ok) twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-star

  • an ok or meh read, mixed feelings about the writing (premise might be good, but execution lacking in some areas), still might be recommendable for some reasons, no WOW factor

2 stars (meh) twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-star

  • not recommendable, underwhelmed, unremarkable, finished but didn’t enjoy,  might be rated highly by others but not the right book for me

1 star (avoid) twinkle-twinkle-little-star

  • usually a DNF (did not finish), lacking in several important elements, skipped/skimmed large sections, I won’t be recommending it


I would love to hear your thoughts or questions!

Happy Reading Everyone!

Cilka’s Journey: A Review

September 27, 2019

 Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

Cilka's Journey Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, Holocaust, Jewish

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks #netgalley #stmartinspress for the free e copy of #cilkasjourney by Heather Morris in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Cilka’s Journey is a companion read (or spin-off) of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and can be read as a stand-alone. Cilka was sent to Auschwitz when she was sixteen years old and because of her beauty, she was singled out to sleep with the Commandant. This assured her survival, but when she was liberated from Auschwitz, the Russians charged her with sleeping with the enemy and collaborating with them. Cilka tried explaining that she was forced into that impossible situation at sixteen and she certainly didn’t collaborate with them. Nevertheless, she was sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor and sent to Siberia. Above all else, Cilka is a survivor and at the camp, she gains the attention of a female doctor who takes Cilka under her wing and teaches her nursing skills. Even though conditions are brutal, Cilka finds a way to survive and even discovers that there is room in her damaged and broken heart for love.

My Thoughts:

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