Lovely War: A Review

January 24, 2020

 Lovely War: by Julie Berry

Lovely War cover

Genre/Categories: YA Historical Fiction, WW1, Romance/Love Story, Mythology

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Love and war….

During the years of WW1, Hazel, a shy and talented pianist meets James, a handsome soldier, at a dance. He’s shipping out to the front in a week. Is this enough time to fall in love? Two more characters round out the cast: Colette, a gifted singer from Belgium, and Aubrey, a member of the all African-American regiment and a gifted musician. The Greek gods narrate this story of love, music, and war.

My Thoughts:

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1st Line/1st Paragraph: Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City

 January 21, 2020

1st Line/1st Paragraphs

I’m linking up this week with Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach who hosts a meme every Tuesday to share the First Chapter/First Paragraph of the book you are currently reading.

Open book on the sand with a blurred out ocean background: words: First Chapter, First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros

I’m pleased to share the first paragraphs of Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga.

Is this on your TBR or have you read it?

Amazon Summary:

“In 1966, twelve-year-old Chanie Wenjack froze to death on the railway tracks after running away from residential school. An inquest was called for and four recommendations were made to ensure the safety of indigenous students. None of those recommendations were applied.

More than a quarter of a century later, from 2000 to 2011, seven indigenous high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The seven were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave home because there was no high school on their reserves. Five were found dead in the rivers surrounding Lake Superior, below a sacred indigenous site. Jordan Wabasse, a gentle boy and star hockey player, disappeared into the -20° Celsius night. The body of celebrated artist Norval Morrisseau’s grandson, Kyle, was pulled from a river, as was Curran Strang’s. Robyn Harper died in her boarding-house hallway and Paul Panacheese inexplicably collapsed on his kitchen floor. Reggie Bushie’s death finally prompted an inquest, seven years after the discovery of Jethro Anderson, the first boy whose body was found in the water. But it was the death of twelve-year-old Chanie Wenjack that foreshadowed the loss of the seven.

Using a sweeping narrative focusing on the lives of the students, award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against indigenous communities.”


Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Indigenous People, First Nations, Canada, True Crime

1st Line/1st Paragraphs From Chapter One:

Arthur Street runs east to west in a long, straight ribbon through the downtown area of the Fort William region of Thunder Bay. Arthur Street is devoid of charm–it’s a stretch of drive-thru restaurants, gas bars, and grocery stores, and cars in a hurry to get anywhere but here.
Turn off Arthur, north onto the Syndicate, and you’ll find the Victoriaville Centre, a poorly planned shopping mall with a 1970s vibe. The mall is riddled with empty stores and stragglers having a cup of coffee before heading over to the courthouse across the street. Parts of the mall have been taken over by mental health clinics, an art gallery, and an Indigenous health centre. Upstairs is the main administration office of Nishawbe Aski Nation (NAN), a political organization representing forty-nine First Nations communities encompassing two-thirds of the province of Ontario, spanning 543,897.5 square kilometres.
There is one elevator and it behaves like an old man. It grumbles as the door shuts, and it shakes and heaves its way slowly upstairs. A sign posted near the buttons says, “When the elevator breaks down, call this number….” When,” not if.
This was where I found myself one grey day in April 2011. I was there to see Stan Beardy, NAN’s grand chief.

Seven Fallen Feathers has been on my nonfiction radar for a while now. I placed it on my Winter TBR and it’s time to tackle this one. This first caught my eye because I had read Killers of the Flower Moon, and it appears to have similar themes and features journalistic investigation. Last, I’ve received many recommendations and I enjoy narrative nonfiction, so  I’m anticipating a compelling read.



QOTD:

Do you like narrative nonfiction?

Is Seven Fallen Feathers on your TBR or have you read it?



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



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

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

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

Just Mercy Review: In Honor of MLK Jr and His Work

January 20, 2020

I've decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. ~MLK

Today, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr (MLK) and his work, I’m reposting an updated review of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson from my September 14, 2018 post…

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.



September 14, 2018

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

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy

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

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 works determinedly and 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 Trailer

Amazon Rating (September): 4.8

My Thoughts:

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Bookish Themed Hanukkah: Sixth Candle: The Extra Sense #eightcandlebooktag

December 27, 2019

 Celebrating a Bookish Hanukkah With Our Jewish Friends: Sixth Candle–The Extra Sense

#eightcandlebooktag

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I’m linking up today with Davida at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog (information on the meme link up here) to celebrate a bookish Hanukkah with our Jewish friends.  #eightcandlebooktag  Join us! (find my first candle here, find my second candle here, third candle here, fourth here, fifth here)

Happy Hanukkah to my friends, followers, and book buddies who are celebrating!

8th-candle

 

1 candle

1 candle

1 candle

1 candle

1 candle

1 candle

Sixth Candle: The Extra Sense

A book that scared you, worried you, or that was edgy or spooky in some way (doesn’t have to be a paranormal book).

Well…you’ll notice a dearth of reviews for scary, spooky thrillers on my blog! It doesn’t take too much to scare me or provoke a bad dream. Usually if something is scary, spooky, or too thrilling, it gets shelved without hesitation as a DNF. I think I’m classified as a HSP (highly sensitive person) in my reading life! So today’s prompt stumps me!

Since I haven’t read any really scary books, I finally considered other books that disturb me in some way and make me uncomfortable while reading. I read a great deal of WW11 histfic, so some of the concentration camp passages are highly disturbing. A couple of examples of some of the most difficult “concentration camp” passages I’ve read include books like The Lilac Girls, Between Shades of Gray, and The Nightingale. Often, books that describe the unfortunate plight of innocent children are quite difficult to read. Examples include Before We Were Yours and Orphan Train.

However, for this prompt I decided to go another direction with a book that is uncomfortable or disturbing to read and that is Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. I found that the chapters that focused on Turk and his racism and white supremacy especially difficult to read. I remember having feelings of dread every time his chapter came up, and wishing I could skip them.

For today’s post, I’m choosing to highlight Small Great Things

  small great things

The following brief overview has been published previously on this blog:

Amazon Summary:

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

My Thoughts:

This is an important and memorable read; however, it was difficult for me to rate. First, I would award it 4 stars for being a page turner and for the focus on an important issue. At the same time, I would rate it 3 stars for the author’s overly pedantic tone (for my preference), one-sided political insults, and the too convenient plot twists at the end. Overall, that would average out to a 3.5 star rating. On Goodreads, I rounded that up to 4 stars. This rating comes with a word of caution that the author was heavy handed in her message and her political comments….it seems that most of her fans might already be aware that her stories are sometimes controversial because of their polarizing themes.

I’m conflicted as I write this because it’s an important issue and message, but at times it felt like a lecture and a political attack. In the end, I admire her bravery at tackling this important and sensitive issue. The chapters involving Turk, the white supremacist, were especially difficult to read because they were filled with hate.

Without hesitation, though, I recommend this book for readers who enjoy controversial and current topics, for nurses and legal professionals, and for those readers who want to form their own opinions on trending new releases and relevant topics. Small Great Things would make a terrific selection for a book club discussion. Plus, if you’re a huge Jodi Picoult fan you might not want to miss this story with its ambitious themes.

My Rating: 4 stars

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small great things

Small Great Things Information

Meet the Author, Jodi Picoult

Jodi PicoultJodi Picoult is the author of twenty-two novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers “The Storyteller,” “Lone Wolf,” “Between the Lines,” “Sing You Home,” “House Rules,” “Handle with Care,” “Change of Heart,” “Nineteen Minutes,” and “My Sister’s Keeper.” She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. Read more at http://www.jodipicoult.com/



QOTD!

Have you read Small Great Things or is it on your TBR?

Are you a Jodi Picoult fan?



ICYMI

I have finished my Fall TBR!
(just in time to begin my Winter TBR!)

Winter 2019 TBR

My Nonfiction November Posts:
2019 Nonfiction Reads
Nonfiction and Racial Injustice
Nonfiction/Fiction Pairings
Favorite Nonfiction Books
2020 Nonfiction TBR
Finding Chika by Mitch Albom



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



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



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

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

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

Bookish Themed Hanukkah: First Candle: All Alone #eightcandlebooktag

December 22, 2019

 Celebrating a Bookish Hanukkah With Our Jewish Friends: First Candle–All Alone

#eightcandlebooktag

 

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I’m linking up today and for the next seven days with The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog (information on the meme link up here) to celebrate a bookish Hanukkah with our Jewish friends.  #eightcandlebooktag  Join us!

Happy Hanukkah to my friends, followers, and book buddies who are celebrating!

8th-candle

 

1-candle.jpg

First Candle: All Alone

A book you love, but one that no one else seems to know anything about.

One book that comes to mind for today’s topic is The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe. Have you heard of it? I loved it when I read it, but I don’t know anyone else who has read it. Let me know in the comments!

The Gilded Years

Summary:

The Gilded Years shares the important and compelling experiences of Anita Hemmings and her dream of attending an exclusive school for women, Vassar College, in the late 1890s. To accomplish this extraordinary feat and pursue her chance for a better life, Anita must pass for white. It is interesting to me how her family and community support her in the implementation of her decision and work to protect her as she lives it out. At first, Anita maintains a distance from her college peers. However, as the years pass and Anita becomes friends with her socialite roommate from a prominent family in New York, the risk of discovery grows greater. Can she maintain her assumed identify? Will she graduate?

The choice:

For me, the most interesting part of The Gilded Years is the tension that develops between Anita and one of her dear friends who decides to live fully as an African-American, embrace her ethnic identity and heritage, and openly fight for equal rights. Which one of the young women chose the best path? Both decisions are difficult in their own ways and filled with sacrifices and joys. Through their two stories, the reader is presented with two viewpoints and experiences. What would you or I have done given that choice? Which choice helped further equal treatment for African-Americans? Was Anita’s choice a set back for African Americans? Or did she have every right to think of her own life first? Did her success as a student help the African-American cause by proving that an African-American can compete equally at Vassar?

Bottom Line:

Although The Gilded Years is compelling and emotional, the writing could be stronger. For me, a captivating story that addresses strong themes of hope, sacrifice, betrayal, loyalty, family, taking risks, life choices, and friendship makes for a memorable, important, and inspiring read. It would generate an excellent book club discussion and make a great movie!

Recommended?

I highly recommend The Gilded Years for readers looking for an inspirational and interesting read in anticipation of February’s African-American History Month, for readers who enjoy compelling stories about strong, brave, independent women, for book clubs, and for readers who enjoy diverse reads and stories written from a different perspective.

Amazon Rating (December): 4.2 Stars

My Rating: 4 stars

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The Gilded Years

The Gilded Years Information

Meet the Author, Karin Tanabe

Karen TanabeKarin Tanabe is a fiction writer and former Politico reporter whose writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, and The Washington Post among many other publications. Before turning to fiction, Karin worked as a journalist covering politics and celebrities. She has made frequent appearances on Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition and CNN. A graduate of Vassar College, she lives in Washington D.C.



QOTD!

Have you heard of this book?

Have you read The Gilded Years



ICYMI

I have finished my Fall TBR!
(just in time to begin my Winter TBR!)

Winter 2019 TBR

My Nonfiction November Posts:
2019 Nonfiction Reads
Nonfiction and Racial Injustice
Nonfiction/Fiction Pairings
Favorite Nonfiction Books
2020 Nonfiction TBR
Finding Chika by Mitch Albom



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



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



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

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

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

The Girl With Seven Names: A Review

December 20, 2019

 The Girl With Seven Names: Escape From North Korea by Hyeonseo Lee

the girl with seven names review.jpg

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Defection, Political Freedom, North Korea

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

A compelling story of escape…determination…survival…family…kindness…

In The Girl With Seven Names, Hyeonseo Lee shares her experience as a child growing up in a high-class family in North Korea. Her home bordered China and as she became a teenager, she grew more curious about life outside of North Korea. On an impulsive lark, she decides to cross the river and sneak into China to take a peek and to visit some distant relatives. Her plan to come right back to North Korea is derailed when she receives word that it is not safe to return. For the next few years, she lives as an illegal immigrant in China, working and quickly learning the language to survive. After twelve years, she risks everything to seek asylum in South Korea and to rescue her mother and brother from North Korea. To complete her dangerous mission, she receives help from a kind and generous stranger.

Amazon Rating: 4.8 Stars

My Thoughts:

(more…)

The Beekeeper of Aleppo: A Review

December 5, 2019

 The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

The Beekeeper of Aleppo Review.jpg

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Family, Refugees, Syria

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

A compelling story of love, loss, hope, and compassion…

Nuri, a beekeeper, and his wife Afra, an artist, live happily with their son in beautiful Aleppo. They enjoy a quiet and peaceful life and value the friendship of close friends and extended family. Suddenly, their lives are turned upside down by war and, out of desperation, they make a decision to flee Syria. What Afra has experienced and seen causes her to go blind, complicating their journey through Turkey and Greece to get to Britain. On this risky and uncertain journey, they must learn to survive in unpredictable situations, to deal with their loss, to trust each other, to depend on the kindness and compassion of strangers, and to keep their hope alive.

Syria Conflict: What’s Happening in Aleppo

Amazon Rating: 4.4 Stars

My Thoughts:

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The Stationery Shop: A Review

November 22, 2019

 The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

The Stationery Shop Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Romantic Fiction, Romance, Family Life, Iran

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Complicated families…..soul mates…..resilience…..

Summary:

In 1953, two teenagers meet in Mr. Fakhri’s Stationary Shop in Tehran. Roya loves the fountain pens, shiny ink bottles, and the thick, lovely writing paper while Bahman loves Rumi’s poetry and is an activist. They share a love of poetry and continue to meet in the Stationery Shop while their romance grows. Their happy life together is complicated by family tension and political unrest.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

Nonfiction Books and Racial Injustice: #NonficNov

November 11, 2019

Nonfiction and Racial Injustice #NonficNov

I’m eager to participate in Nonfiction November this year hosted by Doing Dewey, Julz Reads, What’s Nonfiction, Sarah’s Book Shelves, and Shelf-Aware. During November, you will notice one nonfiction focused post each week:

Weekly Topics:

My Year in Nonfiction

Fiction/Nonfiction Book Pairings

Be the Expert (today’s post)

Nonfiction Favorites

Nonfiction TBR

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Nonfiction and Racial Injustice

Nonfiction November is an opportunity to reflect on the year, to celebrate and appreciate nonfiction, and to share recommendations.

Today for Nonfiction November hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey, I am sharing five books (plus one TBR) in a subgenre that I have read and can recommend. These are my favorite recommendations for books on the topic of racial injustice. I chose them because they each share a personal story and help build my understanding of racial injustice. Can you add to this list?

Please join me for Nonfiction November!

Nonfiction Recommendations on the topic of Racial Injustice:

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

just mercy

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

The Warmth of Other Suns

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (a personal experience) (MG)

Brown Girl Dreaming

We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success by Sampson Davis (The Three Doctors) (MG)

we beat the street

TBR:

Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga

Seven Fallen Feathers.jpg

***UPDATE: THANKS!

Many of you have left recs in the comments here and on my instagram account, so I’m compiling them here:

Recommendations From Readers:

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by by Robin DiAngelo 
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life, Freedom, and Justice by Anthony Ray Hinton
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
They Can’t Kill Us All:Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery
The Undefeated by Kwame Aleander (picture book)
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (poetry)
Dear Church: A Love Letter From a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S. by Lenny Duncan
Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea Ritchie
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness by Michelle Alexander and Cornel West
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Bryan at Still an Unfinished Person Blog posted a list of books on the topic of race in America here.

….list in progress….



QOTD

I know you can help me add to this list!
I’d love to hear your suggestions for a nonfiction book that addresses the topic of racial injustice.



Fall TBR Update

Four more…



Happy Reading Book Friends!

“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



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



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

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

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

The Water Dancer: A Review

October 17, 2019

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Water Dancer review.jpg

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, African-American, Slavery, Underground Railroad

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

The Water Dancer tells the engaging and powerful story of Hiram Walker who is born into slavery and who has a mysterious and magical power. He is compelled to leave his home and adopted mother as he follows his rebellious spirit and searches for freedom. Hiram connects with the Underground Railroad, masters his mysterious power, and seeks to return home on his own terms to rescue his adopted mother and his love interest.

Amazon Rating: 4.4 Stars

My Thoughts:

(more…)