She Come By It Natural [Book Review]

October 13, 2020

She Come By It Natural by Sarah Smarsh

She Come By It Natural by Sarah Smarsh (cover) Image: a black and white picture of Dolly Parton strumming her banjo

Genre/Categories: Non Fiction, Biographical, Music, Feminism

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Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @ScribnerBooks for a complimentary e ARC of #SheComeByItNatural at my request. All opinions are my own.

Sarah Smarsh uses examples from her grandmother and facts from a previously published Dolly Parton title to reflect on the message of Parton’s songs, how Parton’s music resonated with women of Smarsh’s grandmother’s generation, and Parton’s contribution to Feminism.

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Family in Six Tones: A Refugee Mother, an American Daughter [Book Review]

September 15, 2020

Family in Six Tones by Lan Cao and Harlan Margaret Van Cao

Family in Six Tones by Lan Cao (cover) Image: a mom holding a young girl

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Refugee, Vietnamese American, Vietnam War, Mother/Daughter

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Summary:

Thanks, #Netgalley #PenguinBooks @FSBassociates @AnnaSacca for a complimentary e ARC of #FamilyinSixTones for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Lan Cao escaped Viet Nam (and the Vietnam War) as a refugee when she was a child. The sacrificial love of her parents and the hopes they had for her future caused them to put her on a plane alone to travel to America to live with a distant relative. Leaving Viet Nam was traumatic and adjusting to a new family and culture added to the trauma, especially since she thought she was going on a brief vacation. Lan endures extreme culture shock (it’s especially sad that she can’t figure out how to open her milk carton at lunch), completes school, becomes a lawyer, marries, and has a child. Her daughter, Harlan, navigates two cultures and rails against her mom’s overprotectiveness. In this memoir, we hear both perspectives. As we understand that Lan’s fearfulness for her daughter is the result of her own childhood trauma, we also sympathize with Harlan and her need to fit into her American culture and be allowed some freedom. This is an “own voices” story of loss, trauma, a mother/daughter relationship, and the refugee experience.

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The Book of CarolSue [Book Review]

August 24, 2020

The Book of CarolSue by Lynne Hugo

the Book of CarolSue by Lynne Hugo (cover) Image: an idyllic farm house surrounded by grass and trees and flowers

Genre/Categories: Women’s Contemporary Fiction, Siblings

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks, #netgalley @kensingtonbooks for a complimentary e ARC of #TheBookofCarolSue  All opinions in this review are entirely my own.

CarolSue and her sister, Louisa, are in their 60s and are both widows. After CarolSue loses her husband suddenly and unexpectedly, Louisa swoops in with a master plan for CarolSue to move back to the farm and live with her. The sisters are very different people: CarolSue loves her life in Atlanta playing bridge and getting pedicures while Louisa loves canning vegetables and feeding her chickens on the farm. CarolSue has difficulty speaking up for herself and lets her sister make all the arrangements. A cast of colorful characters, an abandoned baby, a troubled reverend, and a young, desperate immigrant provide the complications.

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The Amish Newcomer [Book Review]

August 20, 2020

The Amish Newcomer by Patrice Lewis

The Amish Newcomer by Parice Lewis (cover) Image: a young womens kneels in a fielf to pick carrots and potatoes from a garden putting them in a brown wicker basket

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Amish/Mennonite, Family Life

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks #netgalley @harlequinbooks for a complimentary e ARC of #theamishnewcomer upon my request. All opinions in this review are my own.

Because of dire circumstances, an English city girl finds herself living in an Amish community with an Amish family. A former television reporter whose career is suddenly jeopardized when she inadvertently witnesses a murder, Leah is living in witness protection without a phone (and its access to 24 hour news) and adjusting to a different culture. Even though Leah is an outsider and is lonely for her friends, routines, and lifestyle, she is warmly welcomed in the Amish community. As she begins to adapt and feel useful, she also develops a friendship and fondness for an Amish bachelor, Isaac.

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The Switch [Book Review]

August 18, 2020

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

The Switch by Beth O'Leary (cover) Image: two scenes of a young woman walking a dog in the country and another of an older woman standing in front of a building

Genre/Categories: Women’s Contemporary Fiction, Romance

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Would you switch places with your grandmother?

Summary:

Grandmother Eileen and granddaughter Leena, both dissatisfied with their lives for different reasons, impulsively decide to swap places for two months. Seventy-nine-year-old Eileen moves into Leena’s London flat and twenty-something Leena escapes to her grandmother’s small home in a tiny rural Yorkshire village. They even switch phones! Eileen experiments with online dating and easily makes friends with Leena’s young flatmates. Leena tries to fulfill her grandmother’s responsibilities on various committees and attempts to gain credibility with the community.

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The Book of Lost Names [Book Review]

July 21, 2020

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel (cover) Image: a young woman with her back to the camera stands on a bridge overlooking the Eiffel Tower holding an old book behind her back

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, France

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Inspired by true stories from WW11, a young Jewish woman who flees Paris with her mother after the arrest of her father finds herself committing to a forgery ring whose primary goal is to create documents that will help hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis. The story is told in dual timelines from the present-day perspective of Eva who is a semi-retired librarian living in Florida and the young Eva as she flees Paris and joins an underground forgery operation in a small mountain town near the Switzerland border. The Book of Lost Names becomes an important link between the two timelines.

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The Last Train to Key West [Book Review]

June 12, 2020

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton (cover) Image: a young woman in a blouse and skirt stands on a Florida beach looking into the distance

Genre/Categories: Romantic Historical Fiction, Florida

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Summary:

one holiday weekend + three women in danger + a hurricane

Thanks, #netgalley #berkleypub for a complimentary e ARC of #thelasttraintokeywest for review. All opinions in this review are my own. Pub Date: June 16, 2020.

Key West is a popular destination for tourists. In the 1930s, it is also an opportunity to forget the economic depression. The three women in The Last Train to Key West have very different reasons for finding themselves in Key West on Labor Day Weekend, 1935: Elizabeth travels to Key West from New York City and is desperately searching for a WW1 veteran who is rumored to have been sent to work on the railroad; Key West native, Helen, wants to escape an abusive marriage; Mirta comes to Key West from Cuba for her honeymoon. Rounding out the weekend is an FBI agent, a kind friend, an abusive husband, a secretive groom, and the destructive 1935 Labor Day Weekend hurricane.

Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad

 

Key West, Florida

location of Key West, Florida

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The Jane Austen Society [Book Review] #BlogTour

June 5, 2020

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner #BlogTour

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Janner (cover) Image: a grooup of five people (backs to camera) walk arm in arm; flowers edge the border

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Book About Books, England, Post WW11

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Welcome to my stop on The Jane Austin Society Blog Tour. Thanks for the invitation!

Thank you #netgalley #Austenprose #StMartinsPress for a complimentary e ARC of #thejaneaustinsociety for review. All opinions are completely my own.

Summary:

A love of writing and timeless stories draws people together….

Jane Austen’s final home was located in Chawton, England. In this imagined story that takes place shortly after WW11, a number of devoted Austen fans band together to preserve the home and her legacy. A local doctor, a young widow, a young farmer, a descendant of Austen’s, a young maid, and a movie star are among the group, and the story is told through their unique perspectives. Although they are very different from each other, they each share a deep connection with and a great love for the works of Austen.

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Of Literature and Lattes [Book Review]

May 12, 2020

Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine Reay

Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine Reay (cover) Image: a large red coffee cup sits on a stack of books against a blue background....whimsical flowers as an accent

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks #netgalley @thomasnelson for providing a complimentary e copy of #ofliteratureandlattes … all opinions in this review are completely my own.

Thirty-something Alyssa never planned to return home. Suddenly, the company she works for implodes, and she is broke, under FBI investigation, and returns to her home in Winsome, Illinois to regroup. Once in her quaint and charming hometown, Alyssa faces the challenges of reconciling with her mother, earning money to fix her car, and dealing with a health crisis. She meets Jeremy who is struggling to establish a coffee shop, working toward a functional relationship with his ex, and fighting for consistent, quality time with his daughter.

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Sea Wife [Book Review]

May 1, 2020
“May Day”

Sea Wife by Amity Gaige

Sea Wife by Amity Gaige (cover) Image: a lagoon in the foreground and ocean expanse in the background

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Family Life, Sea Life

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks, #netgalley #knophpublishinggroup for granting my request for a free eARC of #seawife by Amity Gaige. All opinions are my own.

Juliet and Michael are disillusioned with work, life, and marriage for individual reasons, and even though they are novice sailors, they set out for a yearlong sailing venture with their two young children. Things are fine at first until the unexpected happens.

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