The Dearly Beloved [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

September 16, 2021

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall
#throwbackthursday

Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall (cover) Image: white text over the graphic image of a tree with long reaching limbs....all against a blue background

Genre/Categories/Setting: Literary Fiction, Marriage, Friendship, Faith, 1960s Manhattan

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 compelling drama of marriage, friendship, and faith, The Dearly Beloved: A Review. My best read of the year in 2019.

Recently, I reviewed Gilead and explained why I think it is literary fiction; The Dearly Beloved is another example of literary fiction.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“Four very different individuals (two couples) navigate relationships, marriage, children, faith, career, ministry, crisis, joy, friendship, forgiveness, uncertainty, understanding, and heartbreak. The couples meet in the 1960s when the men, Charles and James, accept positions as co-pastors of the Third Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. The relationship between the couples is strained because the wives are polar opposites: Lily is a loner and an atheist and Nan values connection and is a devout Christian. In this tender character-driven story that covers decades of life, we also learn the backstory of each individual.”

One Favorite quote: “While she was away, they had been able to forget the accident. When she returned, they had been forced to pick up their rakes of grief and drag them along the ground.”

A thoughtful story of faith and doubt, hope and disappointment, friendship and marriage, career and family….

Continue here for 10 reasons why I loved The Dearly Beloved…



QOTD:

Have you read The Dearly Beloved or is it on your TBR?

The Madness of Crowds [Book Review]

September 14, 2021

The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny

The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny (cover) Image: white and light blue text over the background of the graphic silhouette of a pine tree with sunburst of various bright colors behind the tree

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Crime Fiction, Mystery/Detective, Police Procedural, Canada, post Pandemic

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

The Madness of Crowds is the seventeenth installment of the Inspector Gamache/Three Pines series. Although I recommend reading the series in order, this particular book is easily read as a stand alone.

As the New Year’s celebration approaches and the residents of Three Pines enjoy snow sports and hot chocolate in the bistro, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is asked to provide security for a visiting professor who is giving a lecture at a nearby university. At first glance, it seems like an easy enough assignment, but then he realizes that the professor has a repulsive agenda that Gamache can’t endorse. He urges the university to cancel the lecture, but they cite academic freedom and the event proceeds. When a murder occurs, Gamache and his team will need to set aside their personal convictions and find the killer.

My Thoughts:

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Other Words For Home [Book Review]

September 10, 2021

Other Words For Home by Jasmine Warga

Other Words For Home by Jasmine Warga (cover) Image: the profile of a young Syrian girl in a head scarf

Genre/Categories/Setting: Middle Grade+, Contemporary Fiction, Syria (and U.S.), Refugee, Coming of Age, Novel in Free Verse, Diverse Reads

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Because of instability in Syria, Jude and her mother leave her father and older brother to live with relatives in America (Cincinnati). Even though Jude has learned some English, she is unprepared for life in an American family, starting school in the U.S,. and her new label as “Middle Eastern.” Jude makes the best of some difficult situations and is suprised to make a new friend. Ultimately, she summons all her bravery and tries out for the school musical.

My Thoughts:

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If You Want To Make God Laugh [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

September 9, 2021

If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais
#throwbackthursday

If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais (cover) black text on a yellow background....a graphic image of a dog and bird surround the title

Genre/Categories/Setting:  Historical Fiction, (post Apartheid) South Africa, Family Life, 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 compelling family drama, If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

If You Want to Make God Laugh is the compelling story of three unforgettable women living in post-Apartheid South Africa at the time of a growing AIDS epidemic and threats of civil war. Zodwa is seventeen, pregnant, poor, and lives in a squatter’s camp. Ruth and Delilah are middle-aged sisters who live on an inherited, rural farm. While Ruth is an unhappy, disillusioned, and newly divorced socialite, Delilah is a former nun and social worker who is hiding a big secret. A newborn baby will bring these characters together, and this is a story of their precarious relationships, of sibling jealousy, rivalry, and healing, and of found family.”

“I’d often wondered since then if a child could be inoculated in the womb against the horror of the world through the power of its mother’s love; if that love could infuse joy into a child even when her presence couldn’t.”

If You Want to Make God Laugh…..tell Him your plans…

Continue here for my full review of If You Want To Make God Laugh…



QOTD:

Have you read If You Want To Make God Laugh or is it on your TBR?
Have you read Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by the same author?

 

The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman [Book Review]

September 3, 2021

The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson

The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson (cover) Image: white text on a blue background....graphic pictures of a car, a mic, a suitcase, a phone, and post it notes are along a winding road

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Humor, Mother/Son, Road Trip, England

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

A memorable trip to find a father and honor a friend…

Twelve-year-old Norman Foreman and his best friend, Jax, have a five-year plan to become comedians and perform at the Endinburgh Fringe Festival. Jax is the wild one and is Norman’s first and only friend. They spend their time planning and practicing their comedy routine, with Jax as the funny one and Norman as the straight man. Sadly, Jax dies and Norman is bereft. Norman’s mom, Sadie, is a single mom and in her attempts to cheer up Norman, Sadie vows to get Norman to the Fringe (in honor of Jax) even though he would be a solo act and to finally track down Norman’s father (there are four possible candidates). Assisted by Leonard, a semi-retired janitor at work, Sadie plans the trip. The majority of the story follows this trio as they take a road trip to Edinburgh and make stops along the way to meet four different potential fathers and to give Norman practice opportunities at small venues. Will Norman find his father? Will he find the courage to perform at The Fringe without his best friend?

My Thoughts:

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The Vanished Bride [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

September 2, 2021

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis
#throwbackthursday

The Vanished Bride Review

Genre/Categories/Setting:  Historical Fiction, Siblings, Cozy Mystery, Yorkshire

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 historical fiction mystery, The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis.

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 Vanished Bride is the highly imagined story of the famous Brontë Sisters before they were authors. In 1845, when all four Brontë siblings return home to live with their father (for various reasons), Charlotte, Emily, and Anne hear about the disappearance and suspected murder of a young neighbor woman, they decide to become lady detectors and embark on an ambitious endeavor to solve the mystery. Relying on their resourcefulness, determination, energy, wits, cleverness, and creativity, they investigate, interrogate, analyze clues, and follow leads. The sisters need to pursue these activities without drawing attention to themselves because of the expectations for women and their roles at that time. Since they are already intrigued by the idea of becoming authors in a male-dominated field, they are already thinking outside the box and challenging boundaries. Although at times they need to involve their brother, most of the investigation is accomplished without the knowledge of their protective father. Will they solve the mystery of the vanished bride?”

Authentic and delightfully entertaining characterizations of the three Brontë sisters….

Continue here for my full review of The Vanished Bride…



QOTD:

Have you read The Vanished Bride or is it on your TBR?

#CoverReveal #BloomsburyGirls

September 1, 2021

Cover Reveal of Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

The internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society returns with a compelling and heartwarming story of post-war London, a century-old bookstore, and three women determined to find their way in a fast-changing world.

Bloomsbury Girls Cover Reveal Banner

Do you love Jane Austen?

One of my loveliest reads last year was The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner, an imagined story inspired by the first meetings of the Jane Austen society that was formed to preserve and honor Austen’s work.

Bloomsbury Girls by Jenner is a “spin off” of The Jane Austen Society and builds a story featuring one of the interesting characters. A book about books, bookshops, and booksellers! Pub Date: 5/17/2022.

Book Description and Summary

“One bookshop. Fifty-one rules. Three women who break them all.”

Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare bookstore that has persisted and resisted change for a hundred years, run by men and guided by the general manager’s unbreakable fifty-one rules.  But in 1950, the world is changing, especially the world of books and publishing, and at Bloomsbury Books, the girls in the shop have plans:

Vivien Lowry:  Single since her aristocratic fiancé was killed in action during World War II, the brilliant and stylish Vivien has a long list of grievances – most of them well justified and the biggest of which is Alec McDonough, the Head of Fiction.

Grace Perkins: Married with two sons, she’s been working to support the family following her husband’s breakdown in the aftermath of the war. Torn between duty to her family and dreams of her own.

Evie Stone:  In the first class of female students from Cambridge permitted to earn a degree, Evie was denied an academic position in favor of her less accomplished male rival. Now she’s working at Bloomsbury Books while she plans to remake her own future.

As they interact with various literary figures of the time – Daphne Du Maurier, Ellen Doubleday, Sonia Blair (widow of George Orwell), Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, and others – these three women with their complex web of relationships, goals and dreams are all working to plot out a future that is richer and more rewarding than anything society will allow.

 Doesn’t this sound great?

Quotes From Author, Natalie Jenner

“I never intended for Evie Stone to be a major character in my debut novel, let alone inspire my second one, Bloomsbury Girls. But as time went on, I found I could not leave her behind in Chawton with the other society members. And then one day I rewatched a favourite movie, 84 Charing Cross Road, and I remember thinking, there’s a whole other story in here still to be told, of an upstairs-downstairs motley crew of booksellers, and right away the figures came to life.”

“As with The Jane Austen Society, Bloomsbury Girls features multiple characters and storylines revolving around one very charming location: this time, the quintessential Dickensian-type bookshop.”

“If The Jane Austen Society was the book I wrote when I was coming out of sadness, Bloomsbury Girls was written when I was very happy, and I hope it provides a little cheer to readers during this difficult time.

Meet the Author, Natalie Jenner

Author Natalie JennerNatalie Jenner is the author of two books, the instant international bestseller THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY and BLOOMSBURY GIRLS. A Goodreads Choice Award finalist for best debut novel and historical fiction, THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY was a USA Today and #1 national bestseller and has been sold for translation in twenty countries. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie has been a corporate lawyer, a career coach and, most recently, an independent bookstore owner in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs.

Cover Reveal!

Do you love the cover?

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner (cover) Image: three young women walking arm in arm toward the camera, pinkish/red text and a large pinkish/red blooming flower in the lower left corner

I already have Bloomsbury Girls on my Spring 2022 TBR! Look for my review on or near 5/17/2022.

What a pretty set these two books make!



QOTD:

Have you read The Jane Austen Society or is it on your TBR?

If you’ve read Jane Austen Society, does Bloomsbury Girls sound interesting?



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.

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The Last Chance Library [Book Review]

August 30, 2021

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson (cover) Image: white block text on a blue background.....text forms 3 shelves which hold graphic images of books and library scenes

Genre/Categories/Settings: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Books About Books, Librarians, Library, English Village

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

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

A shy, lonely, and quirky librarian, June Jones, and a colorful cast of characters band together to fight against the closure of their local public library. Can June find courage for the fight and forge true friendships?

My Thoughts:

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Snowflakes Over the Starfish Cafe [Book Review]

August 27, 2021

Snowflakes Over the Starfish Café by Jessica Redland

Snowflakes Over the Starfish Cafe by Jessica Redland (cover) Image: a young man and woman sit outside at a table near a rustic cafe near a cove of water and a lighthouse

Genre/Categories/Setting: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Family Life, Romance, North Yorkshire Coast

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @bookandtonic @boldwoodbooks for a complimentary eARC of #SnowflakesOverTheStarfishCafe upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Mum had built a legacy around warmth and friendship and I was determined to keep that going.”

Hollie has inherited the Starfish Cafe and works hard at retaining the traditional warmth and friendliness of the small, family-owned, community cafe where everyone knows your name. A fluffy, cute dog causes Hollie and Jake to meet. Both Hollie and Jake are dealing with loss and grief and are hesitant to risk love again. Will they find the courage to trust each other, build a strong friendship, move past loneliness and fear, and find love?

My Thoughts:

(more…)

Meet Me in Monaco [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

August 26, 2021

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
#throwbackthursday

Meet Me in Monaco Review

Genre/Categories/Setting:  Romantic Historical Fiction, Royalty, Monaco (the French Riviera)

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 romantic historical fiction, Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Grace Kelly, Hollywood actress, and Prince Rainier of Monaco meet in the 1950s at the Cannes Film Festival, and their story is the backdrop of this imagined love story of a perfumer, Sophie Duval, and a British press photographer, James Henderson. As Sophie develops an exclusive perfume for Grace Kelly and James is an assigned photographer, the wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainer is the setting for the bittersweet and sometimes star-crossed romance of Sophie and James.

The subtitle needs some explanation in that this is a story INSPIRED by the Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier wedding; the wedding is simply a backdrop and not the primary story.

“To be a parfumeur is to be a keeper of memories, Sophie. Every scent will remind you of something, or someone.” 

Continue here for my full review of Meet Me in Monaco…



QOTD:

Have you read Meet Me in Monaco or is it on your TBR?