Arsenic and Adobo [Book Review]

May 6, 2021

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia Manansala (cover) Image: a young women pours an ingredient into a put of food that is cooking on the stove

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Culinary Mystery, Filipino

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks to #Netgalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for my complimentary eARC of #ArsenicAndAdobo at my request. All opinions are my own.

Lila moves home to recover from a breakup and to help save the family restaurant. In addition, to serving up some delicious food and enduring the interference of three interfering and opinionated aunties, Lila’s ex boyfriend and food critic drops dead while eating one of Lila’s dessert creations at the family restaurant. Lila becomes a prime suspect and their landlord threatens to kick the family out. Out of desperation and with great determination, Lila sets out on her own investigation with the help of her best friend. For fans of romcom, there’s also a romantic triangle brewing. This is the first book in a cozy mystery series.

My Thoughts:

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The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba [Book Review]

May 3, 2021

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton (cover) Image: a young woman stands next to a railing looking out over a harbor

Genre/Categories/Settings: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Cuba

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks to #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary eARC of #TheMostBeautifulGirlInCuba upon my request. All opinions are my own.

The real-life circumstances of Evangelina Cisneros (“the most beautiful girl in Cuba”), the Cuban fight for Independence, and a feud between two New York newspapers owned by Hearst and Pulitzer are at the center of this fascinating historical fiction story of 1896 Cuba and its revolution. The story transpires from three perspectives: Grace Harrington, a young woman breaking the glass ceiling in the cutthroat newspaper business; eighteen-year-old Evangelina Cisneros, unjustly imprisoned in Cuba; Marina Perez, a brave courier working secretly for the Cuban revolutionaries in Havana. With the help of Hearst’s newspaper and Marina, who had been forced into a Cuban reconcentration camp, Evangelina is rescued from prison and Grace travels to Cuba and writes the story of women who suffer from wrongful imprisonment.

Evangelina Cisneros

Evangelina Cisneros (photo sourse: Wikipedia)

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?

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 Downstairs Girl [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

March 25, 2021

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
#throwbackthursday

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (author) Image: a teenage Asian girl wearing a fancy hat in an 1890 style

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Asian-American, Prejudice, Racism, Coming of Age

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, though, I look forward to re-sharing a recent review of an important story with thoughtful themes, The Downstairs Girl. Even though I reviewed this only a month ago, I am eager to bring this review to your attention again as the U.S is faced with hate and violent attacks toward Asians. The Downstairs Girl exposes the racism that was also prevalent in the 1890s South and is a timely read for our troubled times.

#StandUpForAAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders)

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 Downstairs Girl is set in 1890s Atlanta where a Chinese-American girl having no voice challenges racial and gender issues. Let go from her job at a milliner’s shop because she was a “saucebox,” seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan now works as a lady’s maid for the cruel and spoiled daughter of a wealthy man. Jo and Old Gin (affectionately thought of as “grandfather”) have always lived secretly in the basement below a newspaper man’s family. Jo loves WORDS and writing and so one day, Jo has the idea to write a column for the newspaper in order to help the family living above her build their readership and compete with the other newspaper in town. At night, she writes the column and drops her submissions in their mailbox. Her column, Dear Miss Sweetie, becomes popular for its modern and controversial opinions and the talk of the town. Meanwhile in her day life, Jo struggles to survive her ordeals as a lady’s maid and also plans a dangerous investigation to find her biological father who had abandoned her as a baby.”

Jo endures poverty, racism, and prejudice…and finds her voice…

Continue here for my full review of The Downstairs Girl ….

“Find me on Twinkl’s Library Lover’s Campaign, to take part, visit their Library Lover’s Day 2021 blog



QOTD:

Have you read The Downstairs Girl or is it on your TBR?

In Support of #StandUpForAAPI

March 24, 2021

#StandUpForAAPI #StopTheHate

Stand Up For AAPI (collage of

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

This post is in support of the Stand Up For AAIP community, authors, and stories.
Let’s stop the hate.

The following titles represent a few authors and their stories:

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (scroll down page)

Family in Six Tones by Lan Cao

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

The Island Of Sea Women by Lisa See

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See (one of several reviews)

The Front Desk by Kelly Yang



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

© ReadingLadies.com

No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

March 4, 2021

No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series by Alexander McCall Smith
#throwbackthursday

No. 1 Ladies' Detective Angency (Image: boxed sets of books)

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Botswana, Gentle Mysteries, Amateur Sleuths, “UpLit”

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, and today I’m eager to share two reviews of a series on my lifetime favorites list, No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series by Alexander McCall Smith….gentle, character-driven stories, Botswana culture.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary of the Series:

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective (21 installment) series is a gentle, character-driven, charming, easy reading series filled with likable characters reflecting on life, drinking tea, embracing tradition, and investigating human nature in sunny Botswana, Africa. Mma Ramotswe, founder and owner of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, is a “traditionally built woman,” gentle, honest, inclusive, compassionate, full of common sense, thoughtful, gracious, and wise. In fact, she always chooses kindness and forgiveness as her response and never revenge. Idealistically, she believes that people are good and kind and want to enjoy themselves and take care of each other. She is a proponent of the old Botswana morality and the traditional ways (especially the old way of greeting others). The focus of her work at the Ladies’ Detective Agency is on righting small injustices. Important common themes appear throughout all the stories in the series, and they include compassion, kindness, graciousness, reflection, good manners, forgiveness, and inclusiveness. Readers also hear the author’s voice as he provides gentle commentary on universal issues. Alexander McCall Smith, born in Zimbabwe, does really well in what he sets out to do in these stories.

cup of tea

“Tea, thought Mma Ramotswe–no matter what was happening, no matter how difficult things became, there was always the tea break–that still moment, that unchangeable ritual, that survived everything, made normal the abnormal, renewed one’s ability to cope with whatever the world laid before one. Tea.”

There are 21 installments in the series! Are you looking for a gentle, cozy read?

I’d love to introduce you to gracious, wise, and wonderful Mma Ramotswe! How to Raise an Elephant is the most recent (#21) installment (not reviewed). Here are reviews of two of my recent favorites (If you haven’t read any of the series and want to try one, I’d suggest beginning with House of Unexpected Sisters):

Continue here for my full review of The House of Unexpected Sisters (my fav or the series)….

Continue here for my full review of The Colors of All the Cattle ….



QOTD:

Have you read No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series or is it on your TBR?

10 Awesome and Diverse Reads For #MiddleGradeMarch

March 2, 2021

10 Awesome and Diverse Reads For #MiddleGradeMarch

(top view) picture of a middle grade child reading on a recliner covered with a reddiish knitted afghan

Image Source: Canva

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

To participate in #middlegrademarch, I’ve compiled a list of ten diverse Middle-Grade reads! There are many wonderful middle-grade books from which to choose and even though I haven’t read extensively in middle grade, these titles are stories that I’ve recently read and thought were exceptional because of their themes and diversity. Reading builds understanding and compassion.

Often, children fall in love with reading in Middle Grade. Was this your experience? Children in Middle Grade have “learned to read” and they can fully immerse themselves in the world of words as they “read to learn” and “read for enjoyment.” They have more autonomy to choose their own reading material and can pursue individual interests. Many stories promote great family read-aloud experiences (or buddy reads). As a bonus, most Middle-Grade stories have heartfelt themes without the angst and/or profanity of YA.

What theme do you think Middle Grade books have in common?

For adults, Middle-Grade books make the perfect palate cleanser or fit the description of books that can be read in a day. If I’m feeling myself sliding into a reading “slump,” I often seek out a recommended Middle-Grade read to stimulate my reading life once again. I love that Middle-Grade books almost always end on a hopeful note. This theme of hopefulness is one of the main reasons I love reading in the Middle-Grade genre. I strongly believe that great Middle-Grade literature can be enjoyed by adults! Here’s an entire post devoted to why I love MG.

In addition to the above reasons to read Middle-Grade literature, I appreciate the authors who write diversely for Middle-Grade readers and write on difficult themes or topics in an easy-to-read and understandable manner. If we buy and read more Middle-Grade diverse literature, it will encourage publishers and writers to produce more. I think it’s important for children to see themselves in literature.

Middle-Grade Literature

(in no particular order)

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#BlackHistoryMonth: 10 Reading Ideas

February 26, 2021

10 Reading Ideas for Black History Month

black history month

Image Source: Canva

I support reading Black authors all year, especially in February.

I hope you are inspired by reading ideas for Black History Month! Have you read any of these titles? Please add your recommendations in the comments.

Books are listed in no particular order: 5 of my most recent reads and 5 older must reads.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.



5 Recommended Recent Reads



Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly Baptist (cover) Image: the back view of a middle grade boy wearing a blue superhero cape and holding a pencil

Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist (Middle Grade) My review of Isaiah Dunn here.


Love is a Revolution by Renee Watson (cover) Image: a picture of a plus size Black girl surrounded by four smaller images of the same girl and her boyfriend

Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson (YA) My review of Love Is a Revolution here.


Piecing Me Together

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson (MG) Not yet reviewed, but this is a lovely Middle Grade read!


Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West (cover) Image: a young woman stands in profile against a pink, orange, and yellow background

Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West  Emotionally difficult and well written.


Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (cover) Image: white text with a maroon top and bottom border and branches with white blooms

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston An emotional and intense classic.



5 Highly Recommended Must Reads



These are books that I’ve read in the past years that are on my must read and highly recommended list.

just mercy

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (Memoir, Non Fiction, Racial Tension and Injustice). 4 Stars. My review of Just Mercy here.


Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (cover) Image: gold text on light pink (top half) and black (bottom half) background

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (family drama, addiction, faith and science, mental health)
5 Stars. My review of Transcendent Kingdom here.


Homegoing

Homegoing by Yaa Guasi (historical fiction, family multi generational saga)
This book is ambitious in its structure and memorable in its story telling….it hasn’t received enough attention! 5 Stars.


The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson  (historical narrative nonfiction). Ambitious history of black migration across the U.S. from post Civil War to the 1970s. 4 Stars (heavy on history….the three personal stories are memorable and heartfelt). A must read.


The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (contemporary fiction, racial tensions, YA)
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement. 5 Stars. My review of THUG Here.



QOTD:

Did you find a book to add to your TBR?

Share your own recommendations in comments!



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 covers are credited to Amazon.

© ReadingLadies.com



The Downstairs Girl [Book Review]

February 19, 2021

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (author) Image: a teenage Asian girl wearing a fancy hat in an 1890 style

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Asian-American, Prejudice, Racism, Coming of Age

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

The Downstairs Girl is set in 1890s Atlanta where a Chinese-American girl having no voice challenges racial and gender issues. Let go from her job at a milliner’s shop because she was a “saucebox,” seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan now works as a lady’s maid for the cruel and spoiled daughter of a wealthy man. Jo and Old Gin (affectionately thought of as “grandfather”) have always lived secretly in the basement below a newspaper man’s family. Jo loves WORDS and writing and so one day, Jo has the idea to write a column for the newspaper in order to help them build their readership and compete with the other newspaper in town. At night, she writes the column and drops her submissions in their mailbox. Her column, Dear Miss Sweetie, becomes popular for its modern and controversial opinions and the talk of the town. Meanwhile in her day life, Jo struggles to survive her ordeals as a lady’s maid and also plans a dangerous investigation to find her biological father who had abandoned her as a baby.

My Thoughts:

(more…)