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 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



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.

© http://www.ReadingLadies.com

The Bookseller’s Secret [Excerpt]

August 16, 2021

The Bookseller’s Secret by Michelle Gable: Excerpt

The Bookseller's Secret by Michelle Gable (cover) Image: a young woman in a blue dress stands with her back to the camera looking out a set of windows

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction, Famous Author, WW11, London

*This post contains Amazon affiliate link

My Summary:

Welcome to my stop on Harlequin Trade Publishing’s 2021 Summer Blog Tours for Historical Fiction.

Thanks #NetGalley @HarlequinBooks for a complimentary eARC of #TheBookSellersSecret upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Harlequin Historical Fiction 2021 Blog Tour Banner (showing the covers of three books)

The Bookseller’s Secret is a story about real-life literary icon Nancy Mitford told in two timelines: present day and the 1940s. In the past timeline, Nancy is a discouraged writer who is tempted to abandon her writing career when she decides to manage the Heywood Hill bookshop while the owner is fighting in the war. A French officer encourages her to write a memoir to reignite her passion for writing. In the present day timeline, a young woman also searching for writing inspiration in the midst of her own life changing events joins the search for Nancy Mitford’s long lost manuscript. There is a great deal of mirroring between the past and present day timelines in this dialogue-driven story.

Excerpt:

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The Huntress [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

August 12, 2021

The Huntress by Kate Quinn
#throwbackthursday

The Huntress by Kate Quinn (cover) Image: a shadowy black and white picture of a woman dressed in dark clothing walking away from the camera into an opening

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction (post WW11), mystery, suspense, thriller, romance

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 suspenseful and page-turning historical fiction story, The Huntress by Kate Quinn

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“An ex WW11 war correspondent, a former American soldier, and an extraordinary Russian woman pilot team up to hunt down a Nazi war criminal known as The Huntress. The duel timeline fills in the past and follows the present-day intrigue. The two timelines merge in a thrilling and suspenseful conclusion.”

Historical fiction with a generous serving of mystery, intrigue, suspense, and romance!

Continue here for my full review of The Huntress…..



QOTD:

Have you read The Huntress or is it on your TBR?

Yours Cheerfully [Book Review]

August 10, 2021

Yours Cheerfully by A J Pearce

Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce (cover) Image: 2 women sit on a bench reading a newspaper with a London cityscape in the background

Genre/Categories/Settings: Historical Fiction, WW11, Women’s Fiction, London

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @ScribnerBooks for a complimentary eARC of #YoursCheerfully upon my request. All opinions are my own.

In this follow up to Dear Mrs. Bird, Emmeline Lake continues her journalism career as an advice columnist for Woman’s Friend magazine. Emmy’s best friend, Bunty, is reovering from her injuries and the loss of her fiance, and Emmy’s boyfriend is now stationed back in the U.K. The focus and intensity of this story changes as the Ministry of Information asks women’s magazines to help recruit female workers to the war effort. Emmy is thrilled to do her part, but then she is confronted with the very real challenges that women war workers face and takes a stand to support her new friends.

My Thoughts:

Even though Yours Cheerfully can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading Dear Mrs. Bird first for a richer reading experience. Dear Mrs Bird centers around the London Blitz and its affect on Londoners (bombings are a part of the story) and follows Emmy as she begins her journalism career, Yours Cheerfully focuses on the war effort from the perspective of women left behind and on Emmy’s activism. Yours Cheerfully is very much a “day in the life” type of story.

Do you ever create categories in your mind just for your own benefit? Just me?! In my own mind I think of Dear Mrs. Bird as light histfic and Yours Cheerfully as cozy histfic if that makes sense! What I’m trying to communicate is that I see a different degree of war intensity between the two books, but they are both upbeat and charming in tone.

Main Character: I admire Emmeline as the protagonist. I like a series that follows one character (as opposed to other series that rotate the protagonist of each story). We notice Emmeline’s growth as a competent and confident columnist, observe as she’s challenged by the unfairness of women’s work conditions, and cheer for her actions and involvement. Although Emmy has a fiance, the romance is not a main focus of the story.

Thoughtful themes include women supporting women, women and the War effort, women’s working conditions and equal wages, friendship, influence of news media on current issues, making a difference, and wartime romance.

Recommended: I’m warmly recommending Yours Cheerfully (and Dear Mrs. Bird) for readers looking for light, inspirational, and heartwarming WW11 historical fiction (closed door romance, no profanity, no graphic violence), for fans of fiesty and independent female protagonists, and for book clubs. I think I enjoyed Yours Cheerfully a bit more than Dear Mrs. Bird but that could be because I’ve become familiar with the characters, the setting, and the author. I’m definitely looking forward to more books in the Emmy Lake series!

My Rating:  3.5 (rounded to 4) Stars

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Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce (cover) Image: 2 young women sit on a low wall reading one newspaper

Yours Cheerfully Information Here

Meet the Author, A.J. Pearce

Author A.J. PearceAJ Pearce grew up in Hampshire, England. She studied at the University of Sussex and Northwestern University. A chance discovery of a 1939 women’s magazine became the inspiration for her international bestseller, Dear Mrs. Bird, the first novel in The Emmy Lake Chronicles series. She lives in the south of England.

 

 



QOTD:

Is Yours Cheerfully on your TBR or have you read it?



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

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

August 5, 2021

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
#throwbackthursday

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (covere) Image: tight focus on a woman wearing a simple white dress and brown high top boots holding a book bumdle tied with string on her lap

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Southern Fiction, Book About Books, Racism, Prejudice, Poverty

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 an historical fiction that’s on my lifetime favorites list, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“In the 1930s, nineteen-year-old Cussy Carter and her father live in the isolated woods of Troublesome Creek, Kentucky. They are the last of the “blue people” of Kentucky and endure racism and prejudice because of the blue hue of their skin. They are considered “colored.” Dad risks his life and health working long hours in the coal mines and Cussy takes a government job with the historical Pack Horse Library Project. As a “librarian,” she travels across treacherous mountains and dangerous creeks on her mule, Junia, to deliver books and other reading materials to the mountain folk who have few resources. She does what she can to meet their most dire needs. Incidentally, she doesn’t cuss! (She’s named after a town in France.)

“Cussy (or Bluet as she is called by some) is everything I love in a fictional character! Determined. Compassionate. Smart. Brave. Resourceful. Fierce. A difference-maker. Merciful. Passionate about her work. A librarian. And most memorably, an Angel in disguise.”

Continue here for my full review of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek



QOTD:

Have you read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek or is it on your TBR?

Three Words For Goodbye [Book Review]

August 4, 2021

Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (cover) Image: two young women reading promotional material and wearing hats stand against the railing of an ocean liner

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Sisters, (1937) Europe

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

In 1937, two sisters are sent to Europe by their beloved grandmother to deliver three letters. Complicating this mission is the fact that the sisters haven’t spoken to each other in years and have grown apart in many ways. Clara is the careful and dutiful one and is engaged to marry millionaire, Charles Hancock. Madeleine is more independent and free spirited and strives to be a journalist like her hero, Nellie Bly. Both sisters are devoted to their grandmother and are committed to fulfilling her dying wishes. Clara looks forward to embracing her love of art and visiting Europe’s art galleries while Madeleine envisions writing articles on the political unrest in Europe and submitting them to U.S. newspapers in an attempt to be published. The sisters traveling experiences on the Queen Mary, the Orient Express, and finally the Hindenburg provide the backdrop for many of their most dramatic and challenging moments. What will this trip mean for their relationship? Will they successfully deliver the letters and what secrets will they discover?

My Thoughts:

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Hum If You Don’t Know the Words [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

July 29, 2021

Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais
#throwbackthursday

Hum If You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais (cover) Image: yellow text on a green background...twoimages of birds in black

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Apartheid, South Africa, Found Family

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 a compelling and memorable historical fiction, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words 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:

“The Soweto Uprising of 1976 in South Africa brings together our two protagonists: nine-year-old Robin Conrad living in Johannesburg and Beauty Mbali living in a rural village in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei. In Apartheid South Africa, these characters should never have met. Robin is living a comfortable life with her parents while Beauty struggles to raise her children alone after her husband’s death. After the Soweto Uprising, Robin’s parents are dead and Beauty’s daughter is missing. Extraordinary circumstances bring them together and as they grieve their losses, they form a bond. This complex and heartfelt story is told through alternating perspectives.”

“I took one last look at the mother who never gave up and the prodigal daughter who found her way home, and it gave me hope that we imperfect creatures can find other imperfect creatures through the power of the imperfect emotion we called love.”

Continue here for my full review of Hum If You Don’t Know the Words



QOTD:

Have you read Hum If You Don’t Know the Words or is it on your TBR?

Radar Girls [Book Review]

July 27, 2021

Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman

Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman (cover) two young women sit on the wing of an old airplane

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, WW11, Hawaii, Women’s Air Raid Defense, Friendship

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Welcome to my stop on Harlequin Trade Publishing’s 2021 Summer Blog Tours for Historical Fiction. Thanks for the invitation Justine.

Harlequin Historical Fiction 2021 Blog Tour Banner (showing the covers of three books)

Thanks #NetGalley @HarlequinBooks for a complimentary eARC of #RadarGirls upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Inspired by real women of the Women’s Air Raid Defense (WARD) during WW11, Radar Girls is the story of new recruits and unsung heroes. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Daisy, a gifted horse trainer, enlists in a top secret program that recruits women to replace men who have joined the war. Their high stakes assignment is to guide pilots into blacked-out airstrips and track unidentified planes over the Pacific Ocean. The young women face many challenges including forming a team, working in a male-dominated field, facing unequal treatment of women, and surviving a war.

Women's Air Raid Defense: five women from WW11 sit around a table looking at charts

Image Source: Wikipedia

My Thoughts:

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