The Secret of Clouds: A Review

June 21, 2019

For the love of teaching, middle-grade literature, and poignant stories…..

The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman

The Secret of Clouds Review

Genre/Categories: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Yuri, a sixth grader, has a life-threatening heart condition likely caused by his mother’s exposure to radiation in the Cherynobol incident in the Ukraine, SSR. Because of his poor health and fear of infection, he cannot attend school. Maggie, a compassionate, creative, and innovative teacher, agrees to tutor him in his home twice a week. This is the story of the connection they form and what they learn from each other. The story also explores Yuri’s parents’ early life and background.

My Thoughts:

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1st Line/1st Paragraph: Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini

June 18, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph: Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini

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.

First Paragraph

I’m pleased to share the first line and first paragraph of Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini. If you appreciate an abundance of history in your historical fiction, this may be the read for you.

From Amazon: From the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, an enthralling historical saga that recreates the danger, romance, and sacrifice of an era and brings to life one courageous, passionate American—Mildred Fish Harnack—and her circle of women friends who waged a clandestine battle against Hitler in Nazi Berlin. Inspired by actual events, Resistance Women is an enthralling, unforgettable story of ordinary people determined to resist the rise of evil, sacrificing their own lives and liberty to fight injustice and defend the oppressed.

Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

Resistance Women

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

1st Line/1st Paragraph:

The heavy iron doors open and for a moment Mildred stands motionless and blinking in the sunlight, breathless from the sudden rush of cool, fresh air caressing her face and lifting her hair. The guard propels her forward into the prison yard, his grip painful and unyielding around her upper arm. Other women clad in identical drab, shapeless garments walk slowly in pairs around the perimeter of the gravel square. Their cells within the Hausgefangnis of the Gestapo’s Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse headquarters are so cramped that they can scarcely move, and now the prisoners spread their arms and lift their faces to the sky, like dancers, like dry autumn leaves scattered in a gust of wind.

How many of them would never again know more freedom than this?

I have read about 25% of Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini. So far, this is a leisurely paced histfic and not a page-turner. While some hisfic reads like women’s fiction in an historical setting, this is packed with vivid historical details and history takes center stage. In addition, there are interesting characters, and it prompted me to ask my husband this morning to refresh my memory between the exact differences of Communism, Socialism, and Fascism. Chiaverini’s prose is lovely and it’s easy and smooth reading, except when stopping to ponder political parties and the gravity of what’s happening. Often in WW11 histfic, we get thrown into the middle of the story. Chiaverini starts this story in 1929 so that we can experience the build-up to the war. Fans of Dietrich Bonhoeffer will appreciate references to him in the reading because one of the main characters, Mildred, marries Bonhoeffer’s cousin. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn about the brave actions of these three inspiring women, but at 600+ pages, it will take some time!



QOTD:

Is Resistance Women on your TBR?



Looking Ahead:

Friday, I hope to bring you a review of The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman. (My very last spring TBR title!)

The Secret of Clouds

Next week, it will be time for my June Wrap Up and I’m also working on a post which will highlight my favorite reads for the first half of 2019.



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 Cactus: A Review

June 14, 2019

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

The Cactus Review

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Susan Green has a perfectly controlled life until she doesn’t. Her life is carefully structured for one person: her flat is orderly and just the right size for one, her job is ideal for her analytical abilities, her cactus plants are dutifully tended, and her “relationship” is carefully defined and scheduled. Suddenly, life presents a couple of unexpected turn of events. Susan’s mother dies suddenly at the same time she finds out that she’s pregnant. Facing the added complication of an already strained relationship with her brother, Susan needs to take immediate action to bring order to her world once again. Can she adapt to these unexpected circumstances and could they bring her unexpected joy?

My Thoughts:

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The Lost For Words Bookshop: A Review

June 12, 2019

The Lost For Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

The Lost For Words Bookshop Review

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Booksellers and Bookshops, Books About Books, England

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Young Loveday Cardew works in a bookshop and prefers books to people. Her discrete tattoos feature a few of her favorite first lines. Even though the bookshop is her sanctuary and a place where she can hide from her secrets, some mysterious packages with links to her past arrive and shatter her sense of safety. With support from a caring boss and the kindness of a young poet, can she find the courage to face her past and find hope for a bright future?

Amazon Rating:  4.2 Stars

My Thoughts:

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1st Line/1st Paragraph: Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini

June 18, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph: Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini

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.

First Paragraph

I’m pleased to share the first line and first paragraph of Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini. If you appreciate an abundance of history in your historical fiction, this may be the read for you.

From Amazon: From the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, an enthralling historical saga that recreates the danger, romance, and sacrifice of an era and brings to life one courageous, passionate American—Mildred Fish Harnack—and her circle of women friends who waged a clandestine battle against Hitler in Nazi Berlin. Inspired by actual events, Resistance Women is an enthralling, unforgettable story of ordinary people determined to resist the rise of evil, sacrificing their own lives and liberty to fight injustice and defend the oppressed.

Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

Resistance Women

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

1st Line/1st Paragraph:

The heavy iron doors open and for a moment Mildred stands motionless and blinking in the sunlight, breathless from the sudden rush of cool, fresh air caressing her face and lifting her hair. The guard propels her forward into the prison yard, his grip painful and unyielding around her upper arm. Other women clad in identical drab, shapeless garments walk slowly in pairs around the perimeter of the gravel square. Their cells within the Hausgefangnis of the Gestapo’s Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse headquarters are so cramped that they can scarcely move, and now the prisoners spread their arms and lift their faces to the sky, like dancers, like dry autumn leaves scattered in a gust of wind.

How many of them would never again know more freedom than this?

I have read about 25% of Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini. So far, this is a leisurely paced histfic and not a page-turner. However, it is packed with historical details, interesting characters, and it prompted me to ask my husband this morning to refresh my memory between the exact diffrences of Communism, Socialism, and Facism. Chiaverini’s prose is lovely and it’s easy and smooth reading, except when stopping to ponder political parties and the gravity of what’s happening. Often in WW11 histfic, we get thrown into the middle of the story. Chiaverini starts this story in 1929 so that we can experience the build up to the war. Fans of Dietrich Bonhoeffer will appreciate references to him in the reading because one of the main characters, Mildred, marries Bonhoeffer’s cousin. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn about the brave actions of these three inspiring women, but at 600+ pages, it will take some time!



QOTD:

Is Resistance Women on your TBR?



Looking Ahead:

Friday, I hope to bring you a review of The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman. (My very last spring TBR title!)

The Secret of Clouds

Next week, it will be time for my June Wrap Up and I’m also working on a post which will highlight my favorite reads for the first half of 2019.



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.

On The Come Up: A Review

June 6, 2019

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up Review

Genre/Categories: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Homelessness, Poverty, Family Life, YA Music, Racism

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

The daughter of a Garden Heights rap legend, sixteen-year-old Bri’s greatest desires include making it as a rapper, making enough money to take care of her mom and siblings, and moving out of the neighborhood. Bri is distracted at school by her rapping goals and neighborhood performances. At home, her mom has lost her job and the family is facing unpaid bills, shut off notices, an empty refrigerator, and the threat of homelessness. Suddenly, Bri not only wants to make it as a rapper, now she has to make it. Bri makes some impulsive decisions as she fights to make her dreams a reality. This is a story about fighting for your dreams against the odds as it portrays the realities of poor and working-class black families. Author Angie Thomas has experience in the art of rapping and her authentic voice fills all the spaces in this realistic story with vivid details of the Garden Heights community and its memorable characters. Although the story takes place in the same community and makes a reference to the shooting at the center of The Hate You Give, this is not a sequel to THUG and can be read as a stand-alone. Each book is a unique reading experience.

My Thoughts:

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1st Line/1st Paragraph: The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

June 4, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph: The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

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.

First Paragraph

I’m pleased to share the first line and first paragraph of The Cactus by Sarah Haywood. If you follow the Reese Witherspoon Instagram Book Club @reesesbookclubxhellosunshine this is her June pick. I don’t always read the selections, but she had me at “quirky” character.

From Amazon: In this charming and poignant debut, one woman’s unconventional journey to finding love means learning to embrace the unexpected. For Susan Green, messy emotions don’t fit into the equation of her perfectly ordered life. She has a flat that is ideal for one, a job that suits her passion for logic, and an “interpersonal arrangement” that provides cultural and other, more intimate, benefits. But suddenly confronted with the loss of her mother and the news that she is about to become a mother herself, Susan’s greatest fear is realized. She is losing control.

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

The Cacrus

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, England, Family Life, Mothers/Daughters

1st Line/1st Paragraph:

I’m not a woman who bears grudges, broods over disagreements or questions other people’s motives. Neither do I feel compelled to win an argument at any cost. As with all rules, of course, there are exceptions. I won’t stand idly by while one person’s being exploited by another, and the same goes when I’m the one being exploited; I’ll do everything within my means to ensure that Justice prevails. Not surprisingly, then, the events that have unfolded this month have left me with no choice but to take immediate and decisive action.

I have read about 61% of The Cactus by Sarah Haywood. My first impression is that Susan is more unlikeable and difficult than quirky. For me, quirky is a word that has an endearing component. Susan is prickly! She is set in her ways and her life is regimented and compartmentalized…..perhaps she is on the spectrum or has suffered some trauma. In addition, she doesn’t have a great relationship with her mother or her brother, and her alcoholic father (for whom she did feel more affection) has died. Susan experienced a great deal of distress in childhood because of her alcoholic father’s behaviors, she doesn’t have many real friends, and she is not close to her extended family. When we first meet her, she’s a loner and runs her lonely life efficiently. I’m gradually warming up to Susan and she may be endearing before story’s end. The blurb on the book indicates that if readers love Eleanor Oliphant, they will love this book. The jury is still out on that point. So far, Eleanor still holds the gold standard of quirky (and endearing)! If you love quirky, you might want to give The Cactus a try. The first paragraph is interesting because the story so far feels exactly like “exceptions” to her rules! I’m invested in finding out how this turns out for her. Stay tuned for my full review in a few weeks…



QOTD: Do you love stories about quirky characters?

If you follow my reviews you know I have a soft spot for quirky characters. I think I’ll do a full post on this subject in the near future.

Who’s your favorite quirky character?



Looking Ahead:

I have reviews coming soon for On the Come Up, The Lost For Words Bookshop, The Cactus, and The River.



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.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books in My Favorite Genre: Historical Fiction

June 4, 2019

Do you love making lists?

Top Ten Tuesday:
10 Favorite Historical Fiction Reads

 

 

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books In My Favorite Genre. Last week, I made a list of my favorite historical fiction books for each of the last ten years. This week’s list is comprised of my absolute favorites in historical fiction! I actually didn’t think I could make this list! My initial list had several more titles and it was difficult to cut, so I’ve cheated a bit. How do I choose my favorites when I’ve read so many titles? The following titles are the stories that I connect with emotionally, the stories I still remember weeks and months and years later, and the stories I recommend over and over again! All are five-star reads and all have great themes. I recommend them without hesitation.

How many of these titles have you read and loved? Are you a histfic fan?

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

(in no particular order)

my dear hamilton

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

I love the (less public) story of the determined, smart, influential, and driven woman who was Alexander Hamilton’s wife, partner, and best friend. America’s First Daughter by the same authors is also excellent.
My review here.


From Sand and Ash

we were the lucky ones

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
and We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

(I read these almost back to back and because of the themes I always think of them together….so this is my sneaky trick to include one more!)
Themes make these stories memorable: I love the theme of faith in Sand and Ash; in We Were the Lucky Ones, I love the themes of family and faith….especially the beautiful ending). Sand and Ash review here. We Were the Lucky Ones review here.


invention of wings

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I love this imagined story of two brave women who were actual pioneers in the abolitionist movement. Review here.


News of the World

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

I love the theme of found family and the moral dilemma at the story’s end of doing the right thing versus doing things right. I also love the beautiful prose. Brief review in this post.


Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

I love the compelling themes of determination and survival. Brief review in this post.


(more…)

1st Line/1st Paragraph: The River

May 29, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph: The River

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.

First Paragraph

I’m pleased to share the first line and first paragraph of The River by Peter Heller. I’ve read a few great reviews, and I’m eager to bring you my full review soon. If you spend time fishing, camping, and canoeing, you might appreciate this wilderness survival/suspense thriller set in the Canadian wilderness.

From Amazon: From the best-selling author of The Dog Stars, The River is the story of two college students on a wilderness canoe trip–a gripping tale of friendship tested by fire, white water, and violence. From the charged beginning, master storyteller Peter Heller unspools a headlong, heart-pounding story of desperate wilderness survival.

The River by Peter Heller

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

The River

Genre/Categories: Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Wilderness Survival, Adventure, Friendship

1st Line/1st Paragraph:

They had been smelling smoke for two days. At first they thought it was another campfire and that surprised them because they had not heard the engine of a plane and they had been traveling the string of long lakes for days and had not seen sign of another person or even the distant movement of another canoe. The only tracks in the mud of the portages were wolf and moose, otter, bear. The winds were west and north and they were moving north so if it was another party they were ahead of them. It perplexed them because they were smelling smoke not only in early morning and at night, but would catch themselves at odd hours lifting their noses like coyotes, nostrils flaring.

I have read about 50% of The River. I can report that it’s a great balance of character driven and plot driven content. The description settings are vivid and beautifully written. The River explores the character of two college friends who share a deep friendship, a love of the mountains, books, and fishing. Throughout the story, we also observe that they have a great deal of respect for each other. These are good guys. What starts out as an enjoyable wilderness trip goes horribly wrong as the young men need to outrace a forest fire, save a life, and protect themselves from a violent stranger. I’m eager to see how this ends!



QOTD: Are you intrigued? Do you like wilderness survival stories?



Looking Ahead:

Come back Friday for my May Reading Wrap Up!



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.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Historical Fiction Books I Read During Each of the Last 10 Years

May 28, 2019

Do you love making lists?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Historical Fiction Books I Read During Each of the Last 10 Years

 

 

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books I Read in Each of the Last Ten Years. Once I started curating my list, I realized that the majority of titles were historical fiction (no surprise!), so I’m tweaking the prompt to list my favorite historical fiction reads in each of the last ten years. This is a difficult task, but it’s fun to reminisce. Some years it was too difficult to choose only one. Many years I have favorites that are not historical fiction and I decided to save those for another list.

For this list, I have simply chosen a memorable book for each year. This list doesn’t represent the best of all the books I’ve read in the last ten years.

Most of these titles were read in the year they were published, but some are back list titles.

How many of these titles have you read and loved?

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

2019 (to date)

The Gown, Paper Hearts

2018

My Dear Hamilton, Last Christmas in Paris

2017

From Sand and Ash, Refugee

2016

News of the World, Homegoing, America’s First Daughter, Salt to the Sea

2015

The Nightingale

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