Promises to Keep [Book Review]

April 30, 2021

Promises to Keep by Nan Rossiter

Promises to Keep by Nan Rossiter (cover) Image: a man, woman, and dog sit on a pier overlooking a lake

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction, Family Life, Romance

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @HarperPerennial for a complimentary eARC of #PromisesToKeep upon my request. All opinions are my own. Promises to Keep is a sequel to Promises of the Heart in the Savannah Skies series. It can be read as a stand-alone (although it’s always a richer reading experience to have read the first in the series).

Set in the South (Georgia), this story finds thirty-something Maeve working in a private nursing home and enjoying a relationship with her handsome boyfriend, Gage, who works construction and adores his dog, Gus. Complications arise when they realize that they’ve been keeping secrets from each other about their past. Can they save their relationship?

My Thoughts:

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The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 29, 2021

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray
#throwbackthursday

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Huntry Girls by Anissa Gray (cover) Image: text inside a yellow silhouette of the heads of 3 girls that are joined to form one graphic

Genre/Categories/Settings: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Sisters, Family Life, Mothers/Daughters, African-American Literature

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads. Today, I’m re-sharing a review of The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls shares the compelling and multilayered story of the three Butler sisters: Althea, Viola, and Lillian. Althea was a teenager when her mother died and the children were faced with living with their unstable and often absent father. As the oldest, Althea shouldered the burden of caring for her younger siblings. As adults, they each deal with their traumatic childhood in different ways. To the shock of the community, Althea and her husband face some serious criminal charges and years in prison. Viola and Lillian rally to care for Althea’s children. The story is told from three perspectives as we learn more about the family secrets and childhood trauma.”

Girls starving for love, safety, and stability….

Continue here for my full review of The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls or is it on your TBR?

Sunset On Moonlight Beach [Book Review]

April 27, 2021

Sunset on Moonlight Beach by Sheila Roberts

Sunset On Moonlight Beach by Sheila Roberts (cover) Image: two red striiped canvas beach chairs  sit ion the sand facing the beach....a side table with 2 glasses of champagne between them

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Family Drama, Small Town Community, Romance

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

small-town community…romance…family…grief

Thanks to #Netgalley @HarlequinBooks for a complimentary eARC of #SunsetOnMoonlightBeach upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Sunset on Moonlight Beach is #5 in the Moonlight Harbor series, but it can be read as a stand-alone. As we catch up on familiar characters, the focus in this story is on Jenna, her career as owner of Driftwood Inn. a tragic event in their family, and finally choosing between two men.

My Thoughts:

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National Independent Bookstore Day

April 23, 2021

National Independent Bookstore Day

Independent Book Store Day (April 24, 2021) Image: a young woman stands before a wall of bookshelves choosing one to buy

Image Source: Canva

Are you looking for a book about books?

Do you have a favorite Indie Bookstore?

The last Saturday in April is Independent Bookstore Day in the United States, and indie book stores around the country are planning special events (either virtually or in person). Have you checked out your local indie book store?

To observe this day, I’ve collected a few stories set in bookstores. I’ve read them all and my top favorites (and highly recommended) are How to Find Love in a Bookshop, The Last Bookshop in London, The Printed Letter Bookshop, and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. I could reread these over and over again! Titles are links to my reviews or Amazon affiliate links.

 *This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry (cover)


The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin

The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin (cover) Image: a young woman stands near shelf lined books next to a window holding an open book


The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs

The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs (cover) Image: text plus 4 hardcover books


The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

etterThe Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay (cover)

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Woman 99 [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 22, 2021

Woman 99 by Greer Macallister
#throwbackthursday

Woman 99 by Greer Macallister (cover0 Image: a Woman in a red jacket and long blue skirt stands with her back to the camera looking out over a field

Genre/Categories/Settings: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, 1888 Asylum, San Francisco, Sisters

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads. Today, I’m re-sharing a review of Woman 99 by Greer Macallister.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary

“In the historical fiction thriller, Woman 99, two sisters living a life of privilege suddenly find themselves in a dire situation. Their parents have committed Charlotte’s older sister to an insane asylum because of her pattern of mood swings and a recent emotional outburst. Charlotte is on a quest to rescue her sister from the insane asylum. Inspired by real-life Nellie Bly, Charlotte manages to get herself committed to the asylum by staging a fake suicide attempt. Once inside she experiences troubling events, conducts a desperate search for her sister, decides to enlist help from a risky source, attempts a harrowing rescue, and risks her life.”

Continue here for my full review of Woman 99 ….



QOTD:

Have you read Woman 99 or is it on your TBR?

The Social Graces [Book Review]

April 20, 2021

Would you enjoy reading about an outrageous and real-life feud?

The Social Graces by Renée Rosen

The Social Graces by Renee Rosen (cover) Image: 4 young women in 1880s dress walk arm in arm away from the camera toward an arch in the background

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you, #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyBuddyReads #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen for a complimentary eARC of #TheSocialGraces upon my request. All opinions are my own.

extravagance…society…women’s power…rivalry…feuds…women behaving badly

Set in the late 1800s, The Social Graces shares the story of the historic and notorious feud/rivalry between Mrs. Caroline Astor and Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt as witnessed by New York Society during The Gilded Age. In this time, when women often found their power in society, simple wealth wasn’t enough. Your status in society depended upon old money or new money. Caroline is from old money and is the reigning Queen of society while Alva is from Mobile, Alabama and married into the wealthy Vanderbilt family. Alva soon discovers that mere wealth isn’t enough to get accepted into the top 400 of New York Society, so she sets out in cunning and devious ways to get accepted and perhaps even dethrone Caroline.

Caroline Astor

Caroline Astor

Alva Vanderbilt (in costume)

Alva Vanderbilt (in costume)

My Thoughts:

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What Makes You Pick Up A Book? #LetsTalkBookish #LetsDiscuss2021

April 16, 2021

What makes you pick up a book?

What Makes You Pick Up A Book (white text over a background of a tall stack of hardbback books)

Image Source: Canva

One of the most pressing questions in the reading life is “What Should I Read Next?”

How do you decide what to read next? What makes you pick up a book?

I was going to clean the house, but then I realised.l..this book isn't going to read itself (Image: a young woman sits on the floor leaning against a cabinet reading a book)

I love discussion posts, and many of my favorite bloggers participate in Let’s Talk Bookish and the Discussion Challenge. One of my blogging goals in 2021 is to participate in more discussion link-ups. Do you enjoy discussion posts?

As I answer the questions, think about how you would answer them for yourself. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

This post is inspired by the Let’s Talk Bookish topic hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. This post is also an entry for the 2021 Discussion Challenge, hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight.

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

What makes me pick up a certain book?

  • Reviews (I have a few reviewers I trust and who I consider my book twins!)
  • Known Author
  • Genre (hitfic FTW!)
  • Diverse Voices
  • Catchy Title

***Tip: I like to have a few books already in my queue so that I am not left adrift after finishing a book. It’s helpful in preventing decision fatigue to have something to hop right into. I enjoy a seamless reading experience. What makes you pick up a certain book?

Is a pretty cover enough?

Absolutely not! I’m actually most tempted by a catchy title or an author or review. I admit to liking bright covers….especially bright floral designs! I confess that I am growing weary of the women on histfic covers who are walking or looking away and all we see are their backs. Also, I usually prefer the original cover to the movie adaptation cover. It’s always interesting to notice different covers on the UK versions of books. Because I read on kindle, I hardly ever notice the covers until I start writing my review! Do you like a pretty cover?

Do I check for good reviews?

I stalk all reviews! The good reviews and the bad reviews. If I’m going to invest hours in reading a book, I want to make sure it’s a good fit for me. I don’t like to go in “cold.” Because I don’t usually read thriller or suspense, I’m not that worried about coming across spoilers. I’m trusting that most reviewers will avoid spoilers or have them clearly labeled. When I read reviews, I’m also looking for trigger or content warnings. I know that I don’t want to read books about child predators, serial killers, or witchcraft. I find it’s helpful to check the 2-star reviews. I know every book isn’t for every reader but I like to see if the shortcomings are something I can live with. For instance, if the reviewer indicates that excessive profanity is an issue, I will probably steer clear of that book. I know that I often quit on books with a great deal of profanity. If the reviewer indicates that the story is heavily character-driven with minimal plot, I will think carefully about that book and read more reviews. Many times when I pick up a book it’s because #BookstagramMadeMeDoIt (many thanks to my bookstagram buddies!) Do you read reviews or do you like to go in “cold”?

Do I depend on recommendations from friends, librarians, or booksellers?

pulling a shelf of library books

Maybe you have a group of bookish friends or family members who always recommend books? Perhaps you ask your librarian or bookseller for a rec? If we were friends in real life, I would always have a recommendation for you (maybe a cart full)! My hairstylist is not a fast reader but she appreciates having a good story on hand for when she wants to read. I began the tradition of buying her a book for Christmas one year. It took her an entire year to read it but she loved it and was ready for the next one the following Christmas! I guess she would say that she doesn’t worry about what to read next because she reads what her customer brings her! I think getting a recommendation from a friend is great because your BFF really knows you and your reading tastes. I have one friend that I love to get a rec from because we tend to enjoy the same books. Have you found your book twin?

Is the synopsis important?

The synopsis isn’t as important as reviews in my opinion. A synopsis is a sales pitch and it can be misleading or contain spoilers. I find that most reviewers are more careful about spoilers. The Sea Wife is sold as a thriller and I thought it was more of a family drama with a little mystery (how did the husband die?). I know several readers who were disappointed in the read because they were expecting a more thrilling story based on the synopsis. It was actually fine with me because I don’t like thrillers! Two years ago, I read an installment of No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and while I was writing my review I checked the official synopsis and a couple of events that were mentioned in the synopsis NEVER happened in the story! Sometimes, it’s painfully obvious that the writer of the synopsis has not read the book! Is the synopsis important to you?

Do I look for diversity or #ownvoices?

Yes, I purposely look for diverse reads and #OwnVoices authors. I track my yearly stats in a spreadsheet and I always include this category! In my monthly reading wrapups, I like to see a nice variety of voices and perspectives. Do you purposely look for diversity in your reading life?

Does my last read influence my next read?

Definitely, yes. I recently read a very heavy WW11 histfic book, and I immediately picked up a sweet middle grade read. I do like to balance my genres a bit. Sometimes that fluffy chick-lit book is exactly the palate cleanser I need. Even though my followers must think I read nothing but histfic, that’s not the case. Sometimes I don’t write full blog reviews for my in between reads….but I do note them all on Goodreads. Often, a series will influence what I read next. I can’t pick up book #4 in a series and enjoy it without reading the three previous installments! I’m a binge reader when it comes to a good series. In fact, when I am immersed in a series, it’s the perfect antidote to worrying about what I’ll read next. Are you influenced by your last read?

Do l Iook for any checkboxes?

Absolutely! My biggest checkbox is probably histfic. That genre always intrigues me and deserves a look! I also love complicated family drama, found family, and friendship themes and enemies to lovers or friends to lovers tropes. What are your most important checkboxes?

Do I have autobuy authors?

For sure! Fredrick Backman, Kate Quinn, Louise Penny (although I’ve decided not to read the one she’s coauthoring with Hillary Clinton), and Stephanie Dray (especially coauthoring with Laura Kamoie) are four definite auto-buy authors. For chick-lit, I’m always curious about Katherine Center’s new releases. I love Sara Ackerman’s Pearl Harbor/Hawaii stories. I could go on and on listing authors whose work I’m always checking out! Do you have an auto-buy author?

Do I reread?

Usually I don’t reread. I keep a list of lifetime favorites and I’d be happy to read anything on that list should the mood arise. I suffer from FOMO and I’m distracted by the new and shiny, so the pleasure of rereading gets pushed to the back burner. I did reread The Guernsey and Literary Potato Peel Pie Society before the movie came out. And I impulsively reread The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry last summer. Honestly, I’m always fearful that I won’t love a book as much as the first time I read it. I’m addicted to the “Wow” experience in reading and second or third reads don’t offer the same thrill.  However, there are different reasons to reread a book including appreciating the prose and revisiting a poignant theme or memorable characters. I remember the time I read The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman two times in a row. The first time, I was gripped by the plot. As soon as I read the last word, I immediately started on page one to reread more carefully and appreciate the writing, character development, and themes. Fortunately, this is a short story that is easily read in an hour! What is the last book you reread?

Am I influenced by hype?

Yes and no. As I mentioned earlier, I have FOMO so I’m always influenced by hype…Except if the book doesn’t check my boxes. When that happens, I feel awful! I don’t like being out of the loop for new reads. But it happens and I live with it. My most recent experience involves The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. I am familiar with her work (The Great Alone, The Nightingale, and The Winter Garden), but I know that she can make me ugly cry (especially her earlier titles). When I heard how sad The Four Winds was, I just knew I wasn’t in the right headspace. I’ve also read a review that gave me pause. I’ve decided not to read it, but I have to live with the hype! Are you influenced by hype?

Outside forces often dictate which book I read next.

At times my review calendar decides my next read for me. I have made commitments to publishers and blog tours that must be honored. Other times, library due dates dictate which book I read next! Occasionally, I pause my hold (easy to do if reading digitally on Overdrive or Libby!), but it’s always looming and I rarely totally give up my place on the holds list and start over. Instagram Buddy Reads and IRL Book Club also affect which book I read next. I need to be accountable to the group and ready for discussion! Do library holds or book club commitments influence what you read next?



I think that knowing yourself as a reader leads to a satisfactory and enriching reading life. (see this post about Your Reading Style)

QOTD: What makes you pick up a certain book?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

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

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

© ReadingLadies.com

The Beautiful Strangers [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 15, 2021

The Beautiful Strangers by Camille Di Maio
#throwbackthursday

The Beautiful Strangers by Camille Di Maio (cover) Image: a beautiful girl in a green one piece swimming suit lies on the sand under a colorful umbrella

Genre/Categories/Settings: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, San Diego, Romance

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads. Today, I’m re-sharing a review of The Beautiful Strangers by Camille Di Maio

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

The legendary Hotel Del Coronado off the coast of San Diego, California is the picturesque and glamorous setting for this story of a ghost, movie stars, mystery, chasing a dream, and romance.

Hotel Del Coronado

Picture of the Hotel Del Coronado from their website

In 1958, Kate Morton, a teenager living in San Francisco, seizes her chance to escape from the demands of working in her family’s struggling restaurant to impulsively travel alone to Coronado in response to her ailing grandfather’s plea to find “the beautiful stranger” and to also search for a job at the hotel which will enable her to dream of a new life. A few surprises await her: the true identity of the beautiful stranger, a family mystery, celebrity encounters, and romance.

Continue here for my full review of The Beautiful Strangers ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Beautiful Strangers or is it on your TBR?

Hana Khan Carries On [Book Review]

April 13, 2021

Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin

Hana Khan Carries On (cover) Image: a woman in a head covering holds a mic

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Canada, Muslim, Complicated Family Drama, Love Story, Prejudice, #OwnVoices

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you, #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary e ARC of #HanaKhanCarriesOn upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Hana Khan is an energetic, hard-working, and loyal young adult living with her family in a suburb of Toronto,  Canada. She has a big dream to make it in broadcasting. Hana takes on a lot of responsibility by working part-time in her family’s struggling halal restaurant, holds down an internship in a local radio station where she has conflicting views about cultural content with her boss, and produces her own podcast (anonymously). She strikes up a virtual friendship with one of her listeners and they both use fake names. This virtual friendship becomes one of her main sources of support. Meanwhile, her family’s small restaurant is struggling to survive financially. It doesn’t help when a new corporate halal restaurant is planning to open just down the street. Will her family’s restaurant be able to withstand the competition? Will Hana be able to come up with strategies to face the competition and help her family with everything else she has going on? Will Hana ever be on friendly terms with the restaurant’s new (and attractive) owner? How will Hana use her voice?

My Thoughts:

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The Rose Code [Book Review]

April 9, 2021

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn (cover) Image: a woman in a rose colored dress stands with her back to the camera facing a gold machine

Genre/Categories/Settings: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, WW11, London, Code Breakers, Espionage, Mystery

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“Duty, honor, oaths–they are not just for soldiers–not just for men.”

Popular historical fiction author Kate Quinn brings us a thrilling story about three female code-breakers who work at Bletchley Park outside London during WW11. This is a story filled with aspirations, determination, courage, betrayal, and secrecy. 

All about Bletchley Park for history buffs…

My Thoughts:

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