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Review: Becoming Mrs. Lewis

October 19, 2018

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

 

Becoming Mrs Lewis

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Biographical, Romance, Christian

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 (50s), Joy’s independence and decisions regarding her marriage and children were most likely questioned. In addition, Jack received critism 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.

Amazon Rating ()ctober): Early Ratings: 4.6

My Thoughts:

Many of us read the beloved classic The Chronicles of Narnia as youngsters and some of us have read more of C.S. Lewis’s work. Maybe you’ve heard of the remarkable love story between C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman or have seen the movie Shadowlands.

In this well researched story, I wasn’t sure what to think at first of Joy Davidman and had difficulty reconciling the Joy we know as the great love of C.S. Lewis with her early portrayal in the story. These are a few of the statements by Joy Davidman about her early love life that caused my concern:

Whom did I choose to first seduce?

I’d thought that…conquering him would satisfy me.

It wasn’t love. It was obsession. The compulsion to own him along with a clawing need to prove I was worthy of such notice.

I’d pursued men with embarrassing veracity. Obsession and possession confused with love.

My design included needing men who could not and would not have me, especially older men.

In addition to questioning Joy’s motives when it comes to love, it’s easy to criticize Joy for decisions in her first marriage and family, but she’s remarkable in her independence, her pursuit of meaning, her courage to take a risk, and her honest reflection about her past history with love. As we learn about Joy’s childhood home and parents, we grow to understand more about Joy and appreciate the actions she takes and her desire to grow. I think her sincere efforts at self reflection are admirable.

Life is complicated for Joy Davidman and C.S.Lewis. Although separated by an ocean, seventeen years difference in age, and individual traumas, love is powerful. She observes:

With Jack it’s not the list or conquest or obsession, “It’s the feeling of finally coming home.”

If you’re familiar with the C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman narrative, I can promise you that there’s more to learn in the pages of this story. It’s fascinating to explore their relationship which 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. Jack and Joy are soul mates!

Recommended for fans of C.S. Lewis, for readers who appreciate stories of determined, risk taking, and independent women, and for those looking for a new historical fiction read or an inspiring romance. You will enjoy descriptions of the English countryside and discussions about books as well.

Additional Materials to supplement your reading experience:

If you read and are fascinated by the real life relationship portrayed in Becoming Mrs. Lewis, you will want to watch or rewatch Shadowlands (click for movie trailer).

A Grief ObservedIn addition, you may be interested to read A Grief Observed, a work by C.S. Lewis documenting his grief journey.

Written after his wife’s tragic death as a way of surviving the “mad midnight moment,” A Grief Observed is C.S. Lewis’s honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith in the midst of loss. This work contains his concise, genuine reflections on that period: “Nothing will shake a man — or at any rate a man like me — out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.” This is a beautiful and unflinchingly honest record of how even a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and how he can gradually regain his bearings. ~Amazon

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

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becoming mrs lewis

Buy Here

Meet the Author, Patti Callahan

Patti Callahan

Patti Callahan (who also writes as Patti Callahan Henry) is a New York Times bestselling author. Patti was a finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, has been an Indie Next Pick, twice an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year. Her work has also been included in short story collections, anthologies, magazines, and blogs. Patti attended Auburn University for her undergraduate work and Georgia State University for her graduate degree. Once a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, she now writes full time. The mother of three children, she lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama, and Bluffton, South Carolina, with her husband. Visit her online at patticallahanhenry.com; Instagram: pattichenry; Facebook: AuthorPattiCallahanHenry; Twitter: @pcalhenry.



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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



Links I Love

To supplement my review of The Tattoist of Auschwitz found here, I have found this brief YouTube video clip of Lale The Tattooist of Auschwitz in his own words.

It’s timely (considering this week’s post) to announce that Netflix is set to develop a series and films based on C.S. Lewis’ beloved THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA.

Under the Sycamore: International Day of the Girl
(conversation starters)

Do you plan to see The Hate U Give movie? Here’s the THUG trailer.



EXTRA Review!

Dear reader, I’m not sure if we share a mutual love for Middle Grade fiction or not, but in case we do, here’s a recent review!

4.5 stars.
Louisiana's Way Home.jpg:::::sigh::::: I LOVE a great middle grade read from time to time! Do you? If you are experiencing a reading slump I think reading fabulous middle grade titles is a great remedy! Stories like Louisiana’s Way Home explores heavy content without the YA angst or offensive language or graphic violence of adult literature. Usually these middle grade stories can be read in one day (2 at the most). Check my middle grade Goodreads shelf for more great MG recs!

Louisiana’s Way Home is an engaging and ultimately heartwarming story that explores themes of homelessness, belonging, abandonment, finding a family to love you, foster care, friendship, caring adults, determination, loss, hope, disappointment, etc.

A suspension of belief is required to classify this story as realistic fiction. Goodreads reviewer Joe suggests that this story is a modern fairy tale in which a young person experiences danger, evil, and unfortunate circumstances but in the conclusion all ends happily.

Reading this story challenges me to be that adult who watches out for kids…to be the person who is ready and willing to secure their welfare, to offer a safe place or warm gesture, to offer kindness instead of disapproval or criticism.

You will love Louisiana, a unique, wily, memorable, and unforgettable character.



My Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!



Looking Ahead:

I’m reading and will be reviewing next week The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton. I’ve read mixed reviews from trusted reviewers so I’m eager to see what I think.

Clockmaker's Daughter

I’m also reading The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay (ARC from #stmartinspress).



Sharing is Caring

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.



 Let’s Discuss

Are you familiar with the C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman love story? Have you seen Shadowlands or read A Grief Observed?

Are you a Kate Morton fan?

Do you read Middle Grade Fiction?



***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.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

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Sunshine Blogger Award✺

Sunshine Blogger Award✺

sunshine blogger award

October 14, 2018

Taking a break from a book review today for some fun!

The Lexington Bookie unexpectedly and graciously nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award (You’re awesome Amanda, thank you!). I had some pending reviews to finish and this is somewhat out of my comfort zone, thus I’ve procrastinated for a few weeks. So, here we go!

THE RULES:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you by linking their blog  (The Lexington Bookie)
  2. Answer the questions
  3. Nominate 11 blogs with 11 questions
  4. List the rules as well as display the Sunshine Award Logo on your post

AMANDA’S QUESTIONS and My Answers:

  1. Top three non-series books–go.
    :::::Sigh::::: choosing three out of the number of books I read seems like an overwhelming task. So I decided to choose three from a specific genre. The genre with the smallest number of books read (thus reducing my angst at choosing three) is Escapist or Vacation Reads. My top three books in the Escapist/Vacation Read genre include Castle of Water by Dane Hucklebridge (a castaways romance), The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain (science fiction/time travel, histfic, mother/daughter), and How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry (a book about books, romance, quaint seaside English village). These three also might fall into the chick lit genre. All the reviews can be found on the blog if you check the A-Z Index. If you’re looking for a book for your next vacation, start with one of these!
  2. NetGalley, Edelweiss or other?
    I’m a NetGalley newbie!  Tips?!
  3. Favorite animal and why?
    cooperMy favorite animal has to be a Labrador or Golden Retriever. A dog of this breed is truly your best friend, loyal companion, and lives to please. Meet “Cooper.” Favorite exotic animal is an elephant. I love the story of how a group of elephants surround another elephant when that elephant is in danger of being attacked by a predator or when giving birth. It’s a great lesson in having each other’s back.
  4. Book that you thought you were going to love and was super let down?
    There have been several, but this year I can think of two: I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and Lincoln in the Bardo. I know they’ve received some good reviews and I was looking forward to the reads but they were both not for me and shelved as DNF.
  5. Book that you thought you’d dislike and ended up loving?
    There have been a few, but one that stands out is the Hunger Games Trilogy. (Better than the movies!) Once I started I couldn’t stop and read all three in one week during Spring Break from teaching. I did like the first and second books more than the third and have mixed feelings about the ending, but overall it’s a great series which I devoured and it totally surprised me!
  6. What genres do you enjoy the most?
    This should NOT be a surprise to my followers! Historical Fiction is the genre I enjoy the most (obviously!). But thanks for asking!
  7. Where do you get your reads from (i.e. book shops, online, library, etc)?
    The primary place I go for books is the library! Disclaimer: I use Libby/Overdrive apps to read electronically and rarely make a physical visit to the library. I average 8-10 reads per month and it would be too expensive to buy them all. I’ll let you in on a best kept secret….if the library doesn’t have the book you want, ask them to purchase it and you will be put on a waiting list (I do this through the Overdrive app)…when they buy it, you will be at the top of the wait list! Next, I am always on the lookout for Amazon Kindle deals (I subscribe to MMD Daily Kindle Deals Email and find many great books this way). I usually don’t pay full price for a book unless it’s a new release that I simply can’t wait to read (looking at you Kingdom of the Blind). Of course, my family gifts me Amazon cards for birthdays and holidays so I feel comfortable ordering a book occasionally at full price.  I very rarely purchase a book from a bookstore unless it’s for a gift that I need immediately.
  8. Blogs you love following?
    I’m a blog addict! These are a FEW of the blogs I read on a regular basis! (I’m sure I’ll think of more as soon as I hit Publish…I may come back to edit this as I think of more.)
    Black Coffee With White Friends (important thoughts about race), Top Shelf Text (for ideas on diverse reads), Modern Mrs. Darcy (all things books), The Thankful Heart (inspiration, hospitality, recipes, reflection, etc), Under the Sycamore (photography, lifestyle, family), GraceLaced (art, inspiration), Ann Voskamp (inspiration, meditation, reflection, author of One Thousand Gifts), Jess + The Mess (special needs, blended family), Kendra Nicole (lifestyle, family, and book reviews), The Livesay Haiti Blog (missionaries providing leadership and support for maternal health care), …… for more book blogs see the links of “nominees” below.
  9. Place you’d love to travel to, either in a book or in real life?
    I will never pass up a trip to Hawaii or another exotic tropical location!
  10. Biggest blogging/blogger/book reviewer pet peeve?
    I admire the effort that all bloggers put into their work to help readers choose their next read. Although sometimes it bugs me when reviewers provide a synopsis and a star rating without ever telling the reader what the reviewer liked or didn’t like about the book. Sometimes I wonder if the reviewer really read the book. Which brings me to a second pet peeve and that is bookstagramers (instagramers whose accounts are focused on books) who post beautiful pictures of books and never ever offer a review! Again, I suspect they’re not actually reading!
  11. Favorite book review you’ve written, and link please!
    I have many favorites, but I think perhaps the review that I worked the hardest on was The Hate U Give.

MY QUESTIONS:

  1. Your favorite genre to review.
  2. Your favorite place to read.
  3. Your first book hangover.
  4. Your favorite snack and/or beverage while reading.
  5. Your favorite children’s book.
  6. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never ever read __________.
  7. Three people I’d invite to a literary dinner party are __________, __________, and __________.
  8. The blogger/bookstagramer that has most inspired me is _________ and why.
  9. If I dressed up as a literary character for Halloween, I would choose to be __________.
  10. If I could introduce one literary character to another literary character, I would introduce __________ to __________ because __________.
  11. Have you ever dreamed of owning an indie book store? Give us the details!

MY NOMINEES:

(I have linked to a recent book review post instead of the home page in case the current post isn’t book related)

  1. What Megan Reads (reviews read like you’re sitting across the table for a chat and a cuppa)
  2. Jennifer Tar Heel Reader (especially supportive of new bloggers!)
  3. Novels and Nonfiction  (you will appreciate her professional layout, design, and reviews)
  4. The Ardent Biblio (well-known for exquisite literary dinner parties and gorgeous photography…and of course, reviews)
  5. Traveling with T (reviews of new releases and giveaways)
  6. Top Shelf Text (founder of the Diverse Books Club)
  7. Perfictionist-Tiff (consistently thoughtful reviews)
  8. Reading Brings Joy (delightful person and reviews)
  9. Silver’s Reviews (find the newest releases here!)
  10. Jenna Reads Books, Etc. (thoughtful book reviews and more….always fun with Jenna)
  11. The Pages In-Between (ambitious blogger)
  12. Anyone who would like to join in the fun!! There are so many more blogs I enjoy, but these are the first few that came up in my history.

***Nominees: This is for fun, so don’t feel stressed….if you have the time and inclination, it would be great!

All of these Nominees (book bloggers) have great reviews and are super supportive, so I hope they enjoy the tag and their Sunshine Blogger Award! Please check them out…I know they’d appreciate the “view.”

Thanks again for the fun questions Lexington Bookie!! I hope you enjoy the answers!!

I’ll be back on Friday with a regular review!

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

October 12, 2018

Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Tattooist of Auschwitz 2

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Holocaust, WW11

Summary:

Based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews who meet at Auschwitz, this is a story of the determination to survive, hope, sacrifice, courage, and love. Lale is assigned to tattoo identification numbers onto the prisoner’s arms as they arrive in camp, and this is where he first meets Gita. This assignment gives him some privileges such as a bit of freedom and some extra food which he shares with the most desperate prisoners as he is able. His actions are extremely risky but he is able to save the lives of many prisoners. In the course of his time at camp, he falls deeply in love with Gita, and he is determined to ensure her survival as well. After liberation, Lale and Gita marry, have one son, and establish a home in Australia. They live a private life, and it is after Gita dies that Lale chooses to tell his memorable story.

Amazon Rating (October): 4.6 Stars

My Thoughts:

I’ve read a great deal of WW11 historical fiction. Each story is as compelling as the next. All the stories need to be heard. What makes The Tattooist of Auschwitz even more compelling is that the author was able to spend three years interviewing Lale Sokolov.

Despite being caught in a desperate and heartbreaking situation, Lale is able to survive in the camp because of his pleasant and positive personality, his sheer determination to live, his cunning and courage, and his remarkable attitude. Throughout this compelling story, Lale takes risks, makes sacrifices, and generously shares what he can to help others. Lale’s personality reminded me a little of Pino’s positive attitude in Beneath a Scarlet Sky.

A page turner, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is written in a straightforward way and in a simple story telling style. Its tone is lighter in comparison to some other Holocaust stories I’ve read (although there are obviously some sad passages).

Recommended for fans of WW11 historical fiction, for readers who appreciate fictionalized  versions of true stories, and for those who enjoy an unforgettable character and an unputdownable story filled with courage and hope.

Here’s a brief YouTube video clip of Lale The Tattooist of Auschwitz in his own words. Tissues required.

My Rating: 4 Stars (3 stars for writing, 4 stars for a compelling story)

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tattooist of auschwitz

Buy Here

Meet the Author, Heather Morris

Heather MorrisHeather Morris is a native of New Zealand, now resident in Australia. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who ‘might just have a story worth telling’. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives. Their friendship grew and Lale embarked on a journey of self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Heather originally wrote Lale’s story as a screenplay – which ranked high in international competitions – before reshaping it into her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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



Links I Love

Under the Sycamore: International Day of the Girl
(conversation starters)

Maple-leaf1

Several years ago I visited the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, CA and was privileged to hear a Holocaust survivor give her talk. It was memorable and unforgettable. I hope that you can hear a similar first hand account if you haven’t already.



My Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!



Looking Ahead:

I’m reading and will reviewing Becoming Mrs. Lewis next week.

becoming mrs lewis

These two books are patiently waiting their turn: Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen and The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay (ARC from #stmartinspress). Just a couple of the good ones I have my eye on!



Sharing is Caring

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.



 Let’s Discuss

Do you read frequently in the WW11 histfic genre? Even though I love the genre, it’s not easy reading and can take an emotional toll.  Each time I think I may be finished with the genre for a while, another compelling story from an interesting perspective comes along!



***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.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

The Dream Daughter

October 5, 2018

Review: The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

The Dream Daughter

Genre/Categories: Fiction, Science Fiction (time travel), Historical Fiction, Mothers/Daughters, Adoption

Summary:

Readers meet Hunter and Caroline in 1970 when Caroline is a physical therapist and Hunter is a rehab patient. Caroline and Hunter become friends and in time he marries her sister. In fact, Caroline moves in with them and their young son after her husband dies in Viet Nam. Not only is Caroline a young widow, she’s also pregnant. During a routine ultrasound a problem is discovered with the baby’s heart. In 1970, the heart defect brings a dire prognosis for the baby. Because Hunter comes from the future, he creates an idea for saving the baby that will require all of Caroline’s courage, bravery, and determination. It’s a story filled with hope, love for family, and sacrifice.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 (early reviews)

My Thoughts:

Thank you to #netgalley #stmartinspress for my free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What would you do to save your daughter?

If you’re looking for an engaging escapist read with a touch of histfic, the intrigue of time travel, a good measure of suspense, and a poignant mother/daughter theme, then I recommend The Dream Daughter! It does not disappoint!

Some of you are fans of Diane Chamberlain’s work. I believe this is the first of her books that I’ve read. From what I’ve heard, The Dream Daughter is a bit different from her previous work although her focus on themes of family remain strong. I imagine that it must have been challenging and exciting to construct the complex timeline found in this story.

Science fiction/time travel is not my usual genre, but I enjoyed this story. I can especially recommend it as a great selection for when you are traveling or vacationing or need a palate cleanser and are looking for a unique, light, engaging, fast-paced read. For me, it was the perfect read in between heavier histfic reads. Although time travel is a part of the plot, the main focus of the story revolves around a mother and what she will do to save her child.

Caroline Sears is a memorable character for her bravery, determination, problem solving ability, and commitment to family.

I spent time thinking about the meaning of the title. My current thinking is that Dream Daughter might refer to the fact that the majority of her relationship with her daughter is in the time travel dimension (like one might experience in a dream). If you’ve read this, what are your thoughts about the title?

This might be a delightful and enjoyable book club selection.

Possible triggers: difficult pregnancy, adoption

My Rating: 4 Stars

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dream daughter

Buy Here

Meet the Author, Diane Chamberlain

diane chamberlainDiane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 26 novels published in more than twenty languages. Her most recent novel is the genre-spanning The Dream Daughter. Some of her most popular books include The Stolen Marriage, Necessary Lies, The Silent Sister, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, and The Keeper of the Light Trilogy. Diane likes to write complex stories about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and friends. Although the thematic focus of her books often revolves around family, love, compassion and forgiveness, her stories usually feature a combination of drama, mystery, secrets and intrigue. Diane’s background in psychology has given her a keen interest in understanding the way people tick, as well as the background necessary to create her realistic characters.Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and spent her summers at the Jersey Shore. She also lived for many years in San Diego and northern Virginia before making North Carolina her home.Diane received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, Diane worked in hospitals in San Diego and Washington, D.C. before opening a private psychotherapy practice in Alexandria Virginia specializing in adolescents. All the while Diane was writing on the side. Her first book, Private Relations was published in 1989 and it earned the RITA award for Best Single Title Contemporary Novel.
Diane lives with her partner, photographer John Pagliuca, and her sheltie, Cole. She has three stepdaughters, two sons-in-law, and four grandchildren. She’s currently at work on her next novel.Please visit Diane’s website at http://www.dianechamberlain.com for more information on her newest novel, The Dream Daughter, and a complete list of her books.


Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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



My Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!



Looking Ahead:

I’ve read and will review The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris next week.

tattooist of auschwitz

These three books are begging to be read next: Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen, Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan, and The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay (ARC from #stmartinspress). Just a few of the good ones I have my eye on!



Sharing is Caring

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.



 Let’s Discuss

Is the time travel element in a story interesting to you?

Which books are you most excited to read this fall?



***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.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

September Wrap Up

September 30, 2018

September Wrap Up

september wrap up

I read nine books this month (most of them 4 star reads!) and abandoned one.

 As always, I’m not recommending all these books. Please carefully notice my Star ratings. Generally 4 & 5 Stars are highly recommended.

Listed in order of my Star ratings:

where the crawdads sing

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Fiction/Family Life
5 Stars. Full Review Here.


virgil wander

Virgil Wander by Leif Enger
(author of Peace Like a River)
Literary Fiction/Magical Realism
4.5 Stars. Review Here.


just mercy

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Nonfiction/Legal/Memoir/Biographical
4 Stars. Full Review Here.


the lost girls of paris

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff
(author of The Orphan’s Tale)
WW11 Historical Fiction
4 Stars. GoodReads Review Here. Pub Date: 2/5/2019
(Free ARC in exchange for an honest review.)


lieutenant's nurse

The Lieutenant’s Nurse by Sara Ackerman
(author of Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers)
WW11 Historical Fiction
4 Stars. Review Here. Pub Date: 3/5/2019
(Free ARC in exchange for an honest review.)


hard cider

Hard Cider by Barbara Stark-Nemon
Women’s Fiction
4 Stars. Review Here.
(Free ARC in exchange for an honest review.)


dream daughter

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain
Science Fiction/Historical Fiction/Suspense/Family Drama
4 Stars. GoodReads Review Here. Pub Date: 10/2/2018
(Free ARC in exchange for an honest review.)


clock dance

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
Women’s Fiction
3.5 Stars. Full Review Here.


to the moon and back

To the Moon and Back by Karen Kingsbury
Christian Fiction/Family Life
2.5 Stars. Not Reviewed.



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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



My Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!



Looking Ahead:

I’m reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

tattooist of auschwitz



Sharing is Caring

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.



 Let’s Discuss

What have you been reading in September?



***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.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

 

Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

September 28, 2018

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

where the crawdads sing 2

Genre/Categories: Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction, Coming of Age, Family Life, Survival

Summary:

Living in the marsh outside a quiet, small town on the coast of North Carolina, Kya Clark, later known as the “Marsh Girl,” is abandoned by her entire family and learns to survive in the marsh on her own from the age of ten. One by one her older siblings abandon the family, her mother leaves when Kya is about seven, and finally her father, a difficult, unreliable, and drunk man, leaves when she’s ten. Kya attends school for one day after a truant officer catches her. On that day, she is teased by the students, knows she’s hopelessly behind academically, and never returns. Preferring the isolation and safety of the marsh, she learns what she can through observing nature. Although she can survive on her own, she begins to long for companionship as she reaches her teen years. Two boys from town attract her attention. One of them turns up dead, and she is suspected of murder. The other becomes a life long supporter and friend. A coming of age story with a fair share of tragedy, mystery, and grit, this is an unforgettable read you’ll want to devour and recommend.

Amazon Rating: 4.8 Stars

My Thoughts:

While I loved Where the Crawdads Sing, this story might not be for everyone and comes with trigger warnings for some child neglect and abandonment.

What I loved most about the story is its structure and style. It is atmospheric and engaging from the first page to the last. In addition, it’s an easy reading narrative that flows well and is pleasingly balanced between character driven and plot driven. The author creates an amazing sense of place and a memorable and unforgettable character. As a bonus, the author’s background as a wildlife scientist enables her to include many fascinating scientific facts and details about the marsh.

This story came to me at the right time as I was in the mood for an intriguing, well written, page turner, and Where the Crawdads Sing did not disappoint! It will most likely appear on my best of 2018 list.

Along with an emphasis on science and the marsh habitat, the author creates vivid and colorful local characters that enhance the story and includes a surprising plot twist at the end!

compelling character

Kya Clark is certainly September’s most compelling character. Resourceful, brave, cunning, a gritty survivor, and clever, Kya creates a life for herself despite the most difficult and disheartening circumstances. There is a person in town that she learns to trust and who becomes as important to her as a father. He watches out for her the best that he can which is difficult because he’s African-American and is dealing with issues of hate and segregation in his own life. He understands Kya and respects her freedom and her need to live her life on her terms even though she’s so young. Despite Kya’s ability to create a life for herself as a wildlife artist and illustrator and is eventually able to trust herself to love, there is a plot twist at the end that will force you to reevaluate Kya and the decisions she’s made.

Themes in the story include belonging, abandonment, survival, trust, coming of age, family, and caring for others. There’s a great deal to reflect on or to discuss (if this is a book club pick) as the story unfolds.

Recommended for readers who are looking for an engaging and unique story with a strong female protagonist. It would make an excellent book club selection because of the various discussion possibilities. *Triggers for child neglect and abandonment.

If you have a blog post about your most memorable character of the month, please use the link below or share in the comments.

My Rating 5 Stars

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where the crawdads sing

Buy Here

Meet the Author, Delia Owens

delia owensDelia Owens is the co-author of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa including Cry of the Kalahari.

She has won the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing and has been published in NatureThe African Journal of Ecology, and many others.

She currently lives in Idaho. Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel.



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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



My Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!



Looking Ahead:

This week I’m reading an ARC of The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain (pub date: 10/2). It’s different from my usual genres: heavy on science fiction (time travel), a bit of hisfic (as the characters travel between 1970 and 2018), and some suspense. I would characterize this as an escapist read! Full review coming soon.

dream daughter

I’m also ready to begin The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris because my library hold came in. (taking a deep breath for this heavy read)

tattooist of auschwitz



A Link I Love

Books to movies this fall.



Sharing is Caring

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.



 Let’s Discuss

What have you been reading in September? Who is your most memorable or unforgettable character from your recent reading? (link up a blog post or share in comments)



***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.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

September 21, 2018

3 arcs

For today’s post, I have reviews of three ARCS (advanced readers copies) that I’ve read recently. Thank you to #NetGalley #ackermanbooks #harpercollins #atlanticmonthlypress #shewritespress for the free advance copies of #hardcider #virgilwander and #thelieutenantsnurse in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Reviews listed in order of release date.

hard ciderHard Cider by Barbara Stark-Nemon

Have you faithfully cared for your family, enjoyed a fulfilling career, and now your nest is empty? Is it finally time to focus on something for YOU? Is this the time to realize YOUR lifelong dream? To pursue YOUR goals?

Meet Abbie Rose Stone: a retired teacher, a creative, supportive, understanding, and seasoned mom, a loyal, attentive, and caring wife, a hard worker and an ambitious dreamer.

Is it possible for Abbie Rose who has enjoyed raising three children, trying her best to meet their unique challenges and understand their different needs and personalities, to follow her heart and establish her own hard cider business without her husband’s or children’s full support? Just as Abbie Rose finds the courage to make her decision, a stranger presents information that will affect her family’s future and complicate their lives.

When is it a good time for Abbie Rose to pursue her dreams?

Barbara Stark-Nemon creates the memorable character of Abbie Rose, provides an exquisite sense of place as readers can easily envision life along the northern shores of Lake Michigan, pulls us into complicated family dynamics, and describes what the production of hard cider involves.

Readers will appreciate strong and thoughtful themes including infertility, adoption, determination, persistence, compassion, parenting adult children, mature marriage, following a dream, and drawing a wider circle.

The story lines that most affect me include how a woman manages to follow her dream while continuing to creatively and thoughtfully handle complex family issues, how adoption affects children and families, and how compassion and acceptance allow us to draw a wider circle of inclusiveness. One story line I couldn’t relate to is the guidance that Abbie Rose seeks from the Tarot Card reader because I look to God for my spiritual guidance. However, this is a small aspect of the story.

Recommended for readers who are fans of beautifully written stories filled with family dynamics, for those who enjoy an inspirational and motivational story of a woman following her dreams while also caring for her family, for readers who are familiar with the northern shores of Lake Michigan, and for readers of women’s contemporary fiction.

Publication Date: September 18, 2018

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

My Star Rating: 4 Stars



virgil wanderVirgil Wander by Leif Enger (author of Peace Like a River)

Kite flying … nostalgic film references … film reels …. small town independent theaters …. Lake Superior …. a midwest town down on its luck …. quirky characters …. splashes of humor … and a touch of magical realism make Virgil Wander a remarkable and memorable story.

Leif Enger’s devoted fans have long anticipated his new release, Virgil Wander, as it’s been several years since Enger’s well-known 2002 title, Peace Like a River. Enger is an exquisite writer, and he fills this well written, quiet, character driven story with an eclectic mix of quirky characters and an astounding assortment of vocabulary (a great deal of which I had to look up!). Since I’m a fast reader, I had to slow my pace in order to savor the writing and ponder the phrases. Virgil Wander is not a book to power through. Because every sentence is packed with meaning, I found that it worked best for me to read it in chunks and then set it aside for an hour or an evening and pick it up fresh.

Enger creates an amazing sense of place as readers are introduced to a small, upper midwestern town on the shores of Lake Superior, north of Duluth, Minnesota as well as its various, colorful characters. The town, Greenstone, and the main character, Virgil Wander, are both struggling. Greenstone is on the decline and has experienced so much tough luck that it eventually creates a festival called “Hard Luck Days.” The story opens one snowy afternoon with Virgil’s rescue after he drives accidentally (?) off a cliff and submerges his car into Lake Superior. Virgil, surviving with a mild brain injury, returns to his former life feeling like a tenant and lives above the decrepit Empress theater which he owns and manages. Virgil’s life begins to change when Rune, a friendly Norwegian man, comes to town with his creative and extravagant kites. He has “a hundred merry crinkles at his eyes and a long-haul sadness in his shoulders.” Rune seeks to reconcile his grief over a son he never knew who has mysteriously disappeared while Virgil attempts to regain his memory, his equilibrium, and his vocabulary, and suffers silently with romantic feelings towards Rune’s son’s beautiful widow, Nadine. Rune and Virgil become friends and affect some positive changes in the town and help many of the town folk. Virgil finds joy in flying Rune’s kites:

“As a kid I’d enjoyed kites, but only in the usual way of kids, losing interest once they were airborne and manageable. Now I thought of flying daily, hourly. I didn’t hold the string so much as comb it, and once flying I felt small and unencumbered, as if the moving sky were home and I’d been misplaced down here. Maybe I wanted the broad reach, as Lou Chandler had said. That great wide open.”

Many sentimental moments involve Rune and Virgil rewatching old classic movies at the Empress theater, also providing an accepting and comforting gathering place for an assortment of their friends. There are too many sub plots to address in a review, but many of the story lines involve the reinvention of the town and Virgil.

A masterful writer, Enger includes themes such as loss, rebuilding a life (and a town), taking a risk (“[The kite] broke the line and caught the next gust out of town. A perilous beautiful move, choosing to throw yourself at the future, even if it means one day coming down in the sea.”), friendship, finding yourself (“For a man named Wander I’d spent a long time in one place.”), family, love, community, and drawing a wider circle (“Your tribe is always bigger than you think.”). Greenstone, the town’s name, is symbolic and thematic, too: (Wikipedia) “Greenstone is the state gem of Michigan, found along Lake Superior. It is a mineral found in basalt, a volcanic rock. The Ely greenstone found in MN is basalt that has been metamorphosed; that is, volcanic rock which under pressure has been changed into a new form.”

Recommended for fans of literary fiction and for fans of sentences like these:

“This he stated in a flattened voice like a wall build hastily to conceal ruins.”

or

“He had the heartening build of the aging athlete defeated by pastry.”

Recommended for readers who love character driven stories, important themes, and the insightful descriptions of ordinary people and their circumstances, for all who are searching for thoughtful content, for vocabulary enthusiasts, and, of course, for devoted fans of Peace Like a River.

Publication Date: October 2, 2018

Genre/Categories: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Small Town, Rural

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars



lieutenant's nurseThe Lieutenant’s Nurse by Sara Ackerman (author of Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers…full review here)

Pearl Harbor … war … romance … intrigue … cover ups … friendship … heroic nurses are elements that make this a memorable story.

November, 1941 finds Eva Cassidy, a newly enlisted Army Corps nurse, on board the steamship SS Lurline on her way to her first assignment in Hawaii. Even though she’s engaged and her fiance is waiting for her in Hawaii, her voyage holds an interesting distraction: Lt. Clark Spencer, a handsome navy intelligence officer. Complications arise as Eva and Clark are drawn to each other and Eva desperately hides a secret from her past. Later, amidst the chaos of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Eva courageously bands together with her fellow nurses to tend to the American wounded, reconnects with Lt. Spencer, and is faced with questions of whom to trust and a desire to protect the ones she loves.

During the voyage to Hawaii, the story quietly builds as readers become acquainted with portions of Eva’s back story and make the acquaintance of Lt. Clark Spencer. Upon arrival at the island, the story picks up the pace as Pearl Harbor is bombed, medical personnel scramble to save lives, and there are rumors of a government cover up. This is the most engaging part of the story. I appreciate a good page turner and this aspect of the story delivers!

Readers cheer for Eva, a determined, adventurous, and independent woman, as she begins a new career as an army nurse, grapples with her past, feels responsibility for her polio stricken sister, bravely asserts herself into the medical crisis at Pearl Harbor, finds courage to state her opinions to authoritarian doctors, defends the man she truly loves, confronts danger, and embraces her intuition that recovering soldiers could benefit from a therapy dog.

Recommended for fans of Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers, for readers who are interested in the fictionalized account of the attack on Pearl Harbor, for medical professionals who might be interested in the nursing aspect of the story, and for those looking for an engaging histfic read.

Publication Date: March 5, 2019

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, Women’s Fiction

Star Rating: 4 Stars



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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



My Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!



Looking Ahead:

I’m thrilled to be reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and eager to bring my review next week. (*Spoiler: I’m almost certain it will earn a place on my best of 2018 list)

where the crawdads sing



A Link I Love

Are you a Minimalist?
Novels and NonFiction: Titles I Found Most Helpful In My Minimalist Journey



Sharing is Caring

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.



 Let’s Discuss

What are you reading this week?



***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.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

Fall Reading Season

September 18, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR

top ten tuesday

Today I’m linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR. and Top Ten Books By My Favorite Authors I Intend To Read (eight of the authors on my Fall TBR fit this category of authors whose new books I intend to read). If you’ve clicked over from That Artsy Reader Girl, Welcome!

Fall Reading Season

***As the fall reason season progresses. I’ll add updates here as I read the books***

Welcome to my ambitious list for fall reading! (as usual I couldn’t narrow it to 10!)
*Listed in no particular order*

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The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton (release date: 10/9)
I’ve read some mixed review on this, but I’m a loyal Kate Morton fan so I’m eager to give it a try.

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Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan (release date: 10/2)
***UPDATE: 4.5 Stars. Full Review Here.

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The Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny (installment #14 in The Inspector Gamache Three Pines series…they get better and better) (release date: 11/27)
You know what I’ll be doing in lieu of on-line Christmas shopping!

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The Color of All the Cattle by Alexander McCall Smith (installment #19 of No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series) (release date: 11/6)
A comfortable read with old friends!

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Bridge of Clay by Marcus Zusak (author of The Book Thief) (release date: 10/9)

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Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (debut author) (pub date: 8/14)
I’ve read almost all glowing reviews of this one! It’s my most anticipated fall read which I’ll be reading and reviewing soon because my library hold just became available!
***Update: 5 Stars. Unforgettable character. (Full Review Here)

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Virgil Wander by Leif Enger (author of Peace Like a River) (release date: 10/2)
***UPDATE: 4.5 Stars A memorable read. Brief Review Here.

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The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor  (co author of Last Christmas in Paris…one of my favorites this year) (release date: 10/9)

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Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce
(pub date 7/3)

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
(I’ve read some mixed reviews on this one….histfic is my fav genre so I’ll see for myself) (pub date: 9/4)
***UPDATE: 4 Stars. Memorable and compelling. Full Review Here.

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Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo  (Newbery Award author) (release date 10/2)
Occasionally, I enjoy a great Middle Grade read! Looking forward to this one!
***UPDATE: 4.5 Stars. Memorable and unforgettable. Brief Review Here (scroll down page).

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The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff (author of The Orphan’s Tale) (release date 2/5/19)
This should be on my winter TBR except that I recently received an ARC (advanced reader copy from NetGalley/Park Row Books), so I’ll be reading and reviewing this in the fall.
***UPDATE: 4 Stars. Goodreads Review Here.

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I have three unread books from my Summer TBR …. I’m not sure if I’ll add them to my Fall TBR list or put them back on my general Goodreads To Be Read  (at some time) shelf.



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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

Maple-leaf1



Looking Ahead:

I’ve recently finished reading three ARCs (advanced reader copies) of The Lieutenant’s Nurse by Sara Ackerman and Virgil Wander by Leif Enger (author of Peace Like a River) and Hard Cider by Barbara Stark-Nemon. Look for my reviews of all three on Friday’s blog post.

lieutenant's nurse

virgil wander

hard cider



A Link I Love

Compassion for children with disabilities and their families.
Check out this opportunity to be a blessing to others: The Lucas Project (respite care for caregivers and siblings).

The back story of the Lucas Project. Follow Jess Ronne on Instagram @jessplusthemess



Sharing is Caring

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.

Maple-leaf1



 Let’s Discuss

Which book are you looking forward to reading most in fall? Do you plan your fall reading? Which books are on your list?

Maple-leaf1



***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.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

Review: Just Mercy

September 14, 2018

An inspirational memoir of courage ….. determination ….. vision …..

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

just mercy 2

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, African-American, Judicial System, Criminal Procedure, Politics and Social Sciences

Summary:

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Seattle Times • Esquire • Time

In this compelling and engaging memoir, Bryan Stevenson shares true stories about founding the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice established to defend those most desperate and in need (the underrepresented, poor, wrongly condemned, women, and youth trapped for life in the criminal justice system). In addition to detailing his experience as a young lawyer confronting political machines, fighting prejudice, and accepting challenging cases, Stevenson thinks deeply about mercy, true justice, and compassion.

Listen to Bryan Stevenson summarize his ideas in his own words: Bryan Stevenson Ted Talk

Just Mercy movie: filming in Montgomery.

Amazon Rating (September): 4.8

My Thoughts:

Compelling. Just Mercy is a compelling and engaging read in that I love to read about real people and their life work. Even though some of the legal jargon and proceedings went over my head, I was mesmerized by the overall story of Bryan Stevenson and his lifelong passion for championing the legal defense of the most underrepresented and most desperate prisoners. Despite great personal hardship, he persisted.

Controversial. Some readers might feel they need to agree with everything an author writes to read the work. Sometimes, I feel that way if it’s a topic that I have strong feelings about and am committed to my position. Other times, as in this case, it’s thought-provoking to see issues from an involved person’s perspective (especially from an authentic voice) and to consider issues that don’t usually affect my life.

Memorable. I have the highest admiration for Bryan Stevenson and others like him who have sacrificed and served in areas in which I’m incapable of affecting change. The only thing I can do from the sidelines is to listen and cheer him on.

Thoughtful Quote. Although a difficult read on many levels, Just Mercy is one of those books I can say I’m glad I’ve read. I appreciated the focus on children who commit crimes (not to excuse them but to bring compassion and understanding into the situation):

“When these basic deficits that burden all children are combined with the environments that some poor children experience–environments marked by abuse, violence, dysfunction, neglect, and the absence of a loving caretaker–adolescence can leave kids vulnerable to the sort of extremely poor decision making that results in violence.”

As a teacher, this quote reminds me of how important mental health services and intervention programs are to all school children (especially starting with elementary aged children).

Recommended. Even though Just Mercy has been on the best seller list for a couple of years, it’s a worthy read I’m urging you not to miss. Recommended for readers who are interested in social justice, for those serving in legal or social services professions, for readers who enjoy books about current issues (such as incarceration rates of African-American youth, the death penalty, etc.), and for all who enjoy reading issue-centered books about thought-provoking topics from an insider’s perspective and an authentic voice. Bryan Stevenson is someone I’d like you to meet because he is an influential, courageous, inspirational, determined, and visionary person that will be celebrated, respected, and honored for years to come.

My Rating: 4 Stars

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Buy Here

Meet the Author, Bryan Stevenson

bryan stevensonBryan Stevenson is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and a professor of law at New York University Law School. He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. He has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.

Bryan Stevenson Ted Talk

Just Mercy movie in the works

Bryan Stevenson Wikipedia



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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



My Summer TBR

I’ll be updating my Summer TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!
(So far I’ve read all but three on the list, some I’ve been more thrilled with than others, and I’ve only abandoned one)



Looking Ahead:

This week I’m reading two ARCs (advanced reader copies) of The Lieutenant’s Nurse by Sara Ackerman and Virgil Wander by Leif Enger (author of Peace Like a River). I’m planning an extra blog post soon highlighting three recently read ARCS.

lieutenant's nurse

virgil wander



A Link I Love

Are you a fan of the Enneagram types or Winnie the Pooh? Check out this post that explores the Enneagram type of each character in the Hundred Acre Wood:  Kendra Nicole: My World In Reviews: The Enneagram in the Hundred Acre Wood.



Sharing is Caring

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.



 Let’s Discuss

Do you enjoy issue-centered, thought-provoking memoirs? Have you read Just Mercy?
(kind and considerate comments are appreciated….others will be deleted or not approved)

Are you looking ahead to fall reading? I have quite a fall TBR list that I’m eager to share with you next Tuesday for Top Ten Tuesday!



***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.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

 

 

 

 

Review: Clock Dance

September 7, 2018

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

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Genre/Categories: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Life

Summary:

In Clock Dance, Anne Tyler provides a compelling characterization of Willa Drake from a childhood with an unpredictable mother, to her college years and engagement, to her later years as a young widow rebuilding her life, and, finally, to her senior years which find her longing for attachment, family, and a place to belong. In this bittersweet journey, readers root for Willa as she experiences grief, renewed hope, and new direction for her life.

Amazon Rating (September): 3.8 Stars

My Thoughts:

Background. Sometimes it helps to go into a read with low expectations. I had read only two of Tyler’s works before this and I was left underwhelmed. Even though Anne Tyler masterfully creates well drawn characters and is well-known for her beautiful, nuanced writing, I need a bit of a plot to keep me engaged.

Because I admire Tyler’s writing and one of my favorite literary reviewers (Modern Mrs. Darcy) recommended this book on her Summer Reading Guide, I decided to give it a try…but with low expectations.

Surprise. It was a pleasant surprise to find myself engaged with this quiet, bittersweet story of an ordinary woman’s life. I was able to relate to her on several levels and the author provided just enough plot to keep me reading.

Read Alike. In some respects this story reminds me of Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman. If you’ve read both, please let me know what you think of this comparison! One difference is that, for me, the resolution is more satisfying in Clock Dance than it is in Britt-Marie.

Connections. Reading is a personal experience and the ability to make some connection with a character or a situation makes all the difference! That’s why I always encourage readers to give books a try for her- or himself. I’m glad I gave this a chance!

Recommended. Although there are mixed reviews of this book and it’s not one I recommend for everyone, it’s one that I recommend trying if you love beautiful, nuanced writing and well drawn characters. Readers who appreciate a quiet story of an ordinary woman finding her voice might appreciate this. Also recommended for fans of Britt-Marie Was Here.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars (rounded to 4 stars on Goodreads)

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clock dance

Buy Here

Meet the Author, Anne Tyler

Anne TylerAnne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is the author of more than twenty novels. Her twentieth novel, A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD, was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2015. Her eleventh novel, BREATHING LESSONS, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“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



My Summer TBR

I’ll be updating my Summer TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!
(So far I’ve read all but three on the list, some I’ve been more thrilled with than others, and I’ve only abandoned one)



Looking Ahead:

This week I plan to finish Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and bring you a review next Friday.

just mercy

Amazon Information Here



Sharing is Caring

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.



 Let’s Discuss

Do you enjoy quiet, character driven stories? What are some that you’ve read and enjoyed? Are you a fan of Anne Tyler? Do you have favorite books by her?

Are you looking ahead to fall reading? I have quite a fall TBR list that I’m eager to share with you!



***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.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

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