The Summer House [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 28, 2022

The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton
#throwbackthursday

The Summer House by Lauren K Denton (cover) Image: a blue wooden swing on a wide white porch

Genre/Categories/Setting: Light Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction, Uplit, Multigenerational, Divorce

Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I highlight an older review or post a current review of an old read. Today, I’m re-sharing multigenerational “uplit,” The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

From the author of Hurricane Season and Glory Road…

Lily is devastated to find a goodbye note and signed divorce papers on the kitchen table when she awakens. Before her brief marriage, she was a hairstylist, and she contemplates the possibility of leveraging this skill to make a fresh start. By chance, she notices a flyer advertising the need for a hairstylist in a nearby retirement community. Desperate for a job, she makes the call and shows up for the interview and also negotiates for the apartment above the salon.

Second chances….

Continue here for my full review of The Summer House..



QOTD:

Have you read Summer House or is it on your TBR?

 

A Hundred Crickets Singing [Book Review]

April 27, 2022

A Hundred Crickets Singing by Cathy Gohlke

A Hundred Crickets Singing by Cathy Gohlke (cover) Image: a young woman shown from the waist up stands with her back to the camera and hands behind her back

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction, Slavery, Racism/Prejudice, Faith, Appalachia (rural North Carolina), WW11 and Civil War

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @TyndaleHouse for a complimentary copy of #AHundredCricketsSinging upon my request. All opinions are my own.

In split timelines (1861 and 1944) and through two wars (Civil War and WW11) we hear the stories of two young women who lived on the same plantation and same house in No Creek, North Carolina (Appalachia) as they face the hardships of war and encounter unrelenting racism and prejudice. It’s through Celia’s discovery of a hidden journal in 1944 that we hear Minnie’s story from the Civil War days and cheer for Celia as she attempts to right a wrong.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

What Genre Can You Identify by Looking at the Book Cover? #TopTenTuesday

April 26, 2022

What Genre Can You Identify by Looking at the Book Cover?

 

Swirl and Thread blog header (a white pitches filled with purple and white lilacs, a tea cup, glasses resting on an open book)

I’m linking up today with #TopTenTuesday: That Artsy Reader Girl: Books With [_____] on the Cover.

Top Ten Tuesday (meme)

I don’t often create a post of book covers. However, for this week’s top ten prompt I couldn’t resist drawing your attention to historical fiction covers!

I don’t usually choose books based on covers, but I know many others do!
I’m curious……..Are you able to determine a genre by looking at the cover?
For example, Romance/RomComs usually have cute graphic covers such as these:

But what about historical fiction? Have you noticed a trend in histfic covers?

In recent years, historical fiction can often be identified by a woman with her back to the camera as seen in the following selections. I’ve gotten to the point of inwardly groaning when I see another hisfic cover featuring a woman’s back!

(in no particular order)



QOTD:

What genre can you identify by the cover?



Happy Reading Book Worms

“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



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

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.

© WWW.ReadingLadies.com

 

10 Novels in Free Verse #NationalPoetryMonth #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge #LoveThatDog [Book Review]

April 22, 2022

10 Novels in Free Verse

Do You Have Novels in Free Verse on Your Bookshelf?

April is National Poetry Month: 10 Favorite MG and YA Novels in Free Verse (white text over a background of an open poetry book and a cup of coffee)

Today for the April #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on Middle Grade (MG) and Young Adult (YA) Novels in Free Verse.

It’s National Poetry Month in April and I’ve featured three poems on the blog this month: The Lanyard, Refugee Blues, and The Rain Stick. However, my favorite form of poetry is a novel in free verse.

A Poet’s Glossary defines books in verse as “A novel in poetry. A hybrid form, the verse novel filters the devices of fiction through the medium of poetry.”

For today’s post I’m reviewing an old favorite (one that I used in my classroom), and I’m listing a few of my favorite novels in free verse.

You might notice that this list is comprised of Middle Grade and Young Adult titles (that all adults will enjoy). I think a novel in free verse appeals especially to reluctant MG and YA readers. They are usually quick reads and seem more personal and accessible. Some of these selections are more poetic than others.

Do you have a favorite novel in free verse?
Have you ever read a novel in free verse?

***Titles in this post are links to my reviews or Amazon affiliate links.


Love That Dog by Sharon Creech [Review]

MG Contemporary Fiction. Heartfelt. A Boy and his dog. Teaching poetry.

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech (cover) Image: a hand drawn dog on a yellow background

My Thoughts:

One book I used in my class when I taught fifth grade was Love That Dog by Sharon Creech.

I used this heartfelt story to introduce a poetry unit.

In the beginning of the story, Jack is convinced that he cannot write poetry. Boys don’t write poetry! With a bit of courage, his teacher’s gentle and persistent encouragement, and using models of wonderful poems, Jack discovers that he can write poetry….especially poetry when his beloved yellow dog, Sky, is the subject.

I love that the back of the book contains several selections of poetry from the teacher’s lessons (which are inferred and not presented). After the lesson, Jack attempts to write his own poetry by using the models. As a class, we flipped to the back of the book and read the model poem before we read Jack’s attempt so that we could notice how the famous poem had affected Jack’s writing process…I also gently and casually inserted elements of poetry for discussion. It was one of our favorite lessons!

As a bonus, it’s a wonderful text for teaching inference as we only hear the story from Jack’s POV and we need to infer the teacher’s part.

Throughout the story, Jack grows in his ability to write poetry and his final poem about Sky is emotional and memorable. I read this as a read aloud over several days (each student also had a copy of the book to follow along) and the entire class was in tears at the end (including me!).

For the full emotional experience, I honestly think that this book is best consumed as a read aloud (parent/child, teacher/class).

Can you tell this book makes my teacher heart happy?!

This is a sweet story that an adult can read in one sitting. If you’ve ever had a beloved dog as a child, have tissues handy!

If you’re a teacher, use this as an intro to poetry! You’re welcome.


Other Novels in Free Verse


Paper Hearts (YA) by Meg Wiviott

YA Historical Fiction. On my lifetime favorites list. Simply beautiful. Review is linked in title.

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott (cover)

Inside Out and Back Again (MG) by Thanhha Lai

MG Historical Fiction. Refugee and Immigrant story. Brief review is linked in title…scroll down page.

Inside Out & Back Again y Thannha Lai (cover) ....a girl holding onto a tree trunk with one hand on a breezy day

Brown Girl Dreaming (MG) by Jaqueline Woodson

MG Nonfiction. Childhood Memoir. Diverse Read. Review is linked in title.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (cover)

Clap When You Land (YA) by Elizabeth Acevedo

YA Contemporary Fiction. Diverse Read. Review is linked in title.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (cover)

(more…)

Tweet Cute [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 21, 2022

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
#throwbackthursday

Tween Cute by Emma Lord (cover) Image: two apartment buildings with a teen in each using social media on their phones

 

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Young Adult Fiction, Family Life, YA RomCom, Coming of Age, New York City

Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I highlight an older review or post a current review of an old read. Today, I’m re-sharing a sweet YA romcom, Tweet Cute by Emma Lord. (It’s my fav of her three books.)

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

grilled cheese sandwichThe setting is New York City. Pepper (Patricia) is the swim team captain at her private school, achievement-focused, and a perfectionist. Her family owns a large fast-food burger chain, and Pepper runs the twitter account. Jack is a classmate and fellow swim team member. He secretly develops apps, enjoys being a class clown, and experiences episodes of sibling rivalry with his twin brother. Jack’s family owns a small downtown deli. A few things happen to put the story in motion: the big burger chain copies (steals) Jack’s family’s grilled cheese sandwich, a twitter war ensues that Jack and Pepper instigate and fuel, and Jack and Pepper find themselves becoming close friends on the school’s app where identities remain anonymous.

You’ve Got Mail meets Tell Me Three Things meets With the Fire on High….

Continue here for my full review of Tweet Cute..



QOTD:

Have you read Tweet Cute or is it on your TBR?

 

To Annotate or Not to Annotate [Discussion] #LetsTalkBookish #LetsDiscuss2022

April 20, 2022

Do You Annotate?

Pros and Cons

To Annotate or not to Annotate (white text over the background of a stack of hardback books)

Image Source: Canva

Some readers annotate and some do not.

What is annotating?
What is the purpose of a
nnotating?
How do you annotate?
Why annotate?

I love discussion posts, and many of my favorite bloggers participate in Let’s Talk Bookish and the Discussion Challenge. Do you love discussion posts?

As I reflect, think about your experience. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

This post is inspired by the Let’s Talk Bookish topic hosted by Aria @ Book Nook Bits. This post is also an entry for the 2022 Discussion Challenge hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight.

Let's Talk Bookish graphic

2022 Discussion Challenge (meme)

What is Annotation?

Annotation is simply interacting with the text to find meaning as you read.

What is the difference between Annotation, Highlighting, and Note-Taking?

All three are forms of interacting with the text for the purpose of increasing comprehension and constructing meaning. All three facilitate communication between the author and the reader.

Annotation occurs right on the page and involves a system of symbols. Love something? Put an exclamation point in the margin. Confused? Add a question mark in the margin. Don’t know a word? Circle it.  Love a thought. Add a heart to the margin. Want to remember a quote? Underline and put a star in the margin. Disagree? Place a sad face in the margin. Do you see steps or a list of reasons? Number them. Do you notice a potential theme developing? Mark it with a “T.” Etc. In the days when I was reading physical books, I always read with a pencil in hand (except for library books of course!). You can make up your own set of symbols for annotating.

a poster of annotation symbols

Highlighting: Use a highlighter or different color highlighters to highlight certain sections, words, phrases, and concepts. The danger of this is that you might not remember why you highlighted a certain part. Or you might be a 5th grader who loves to use a highlighter and indescriminately highlight an entire page or pages! (Come on! I know you remember doing that!) If you are reading on a kindle, you can use the highlighting tool (and actually export these highlights!). As an alternative to a highlighter you could use book darts to mark a line or a post-it to mark a page or write a note. If you are an audio book listener, you can bookmark a certain location (or write the location in a note on your phone) and put it in physical note form later.

Note-Taking: When I take notes, I like to divide my paper into sections for characters, setting, themes, quotes, etc. Downsides to taking notes: it’s more laborious than other methods and they can be misplaced! So I recommend a spiral you can use as a book journal for note taking. In theory, it’s more difficult to lose an entire journal than a scap of paper.

Do I Annotate?

Absolutely!
Well, this needs a clarification. When I used to buy physical books, I annotated them all. Now I read digital books and need to rely on highlighting or note-taking. However, of all the methods I love annotating the most. I love picking up a book I’ve read and seeing all the annotations! Have you ever bought a used book filled with annotations?

Why Do I Annotate?

The main reason I annotate is to promote comprehension and construct meaning. In other words: to retain, question, react, or respond. When I taught 5th grade, I required my students to annotate. I loved that we had “consumable” social studies textbooks so that I could teach them to use an annotation system of special marks. There are charts of marks you can access or simply make up your own! Annotation is a form of communication with the author and the best comprehension tool. Related: When I was a student, I always took extensive notes and often I came home and rewrote my notes. The act of physically moving the pencil on paper builds comprehension and meaning. Have you found that to be true in your life? This same principle applies here!

Reviewing Tip

For writing reviews, it is imperative that I use one of these three methods for interacting with the story. My notes, annotations, and/or highlights jog my memory of the reading experience, jump start my review, and give me examples to site or quotes to highlight.

The Cons of Annotating

Well, the obvious con is that you don’t want to write on the pristine pages of your book! I promise it’s ok to mark up your book! Permission granted! Annotating will make your reading experience more meaningful and increase the sentimental value of your book. Another con might be the investment of time. However, if time spent results in a more satisfying reading experience, isn’t it worth it? Honestly, I can’t think of another con. Can you? If you don’t annotate, can you share why?

TL;DR

Interacting with the text in whatever way possible adds meaning to your reading experience.
Highly recommended!

QOTD: Do You Annotate, Highlight, or Take Notes?



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 Bookseller’s Promise [Book Review]

April 19, 2022

The Bookseller’s Promise by Beth Wiseman

The Bookseller's Promise by Beth Wiseman (cover) Image: a young Amish man and woman stand in front of a bookstore gazing lovingly at each other

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Women’s Fiction (Chick Lit), Romance, Uplit, Christian Fiction, Amish Country (Indiana), Rural Bookstore, Book About Books

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @Zondervan @HarperCollins for a complimentary eARC of #TheBooksellersPromise by Beth Wiseman upon my request. All opinions are my own.

In her job, Yvonne hunts down and purchases rare books for collectors who are willing to pay high prices. Her current search leads her to an Amish bookstore where she meets Jake, the handsome owner, and Eva, his employee. Yvonne is surprised to hear that Jake refuses to sell his rare book despite an outrageously high offer, but she is persistent and confidant of her gifts of persuasion and decides to stay in Amish country for a while. During her stay, Yvonne becomes friends with Jake and Eva and also begins to rethink her personal life. Will she break off her engagement? Will she discover why Jake will not sell the book at any price? Will Yvonne, Jake, and Eva find true love?

My Thoughts:

(more…)

“The Rain Stick” #ListenToAPoem [National Poetry Month]

April 18, 2022

“The Rain Stick” by Seamus Heaney

National Poetry Month: "The Rain Stick" (image: a man holding a large rain stick)

Image Source: How to Play a Rain Stick

For #NationalPoetryMonth I am sharing one poem a week and spotlighting authors. I hesitate to copy the poem in this post because I do not want to break copyright laws, so I’ll link to it and hopefully you’ll click over and we can discuss it back here!

Honestly, I don’t read a great deal of poetry. My favorite form of poetry is a free verse novel (a full post on that coming Friday)….is that cheating? I’m looking forward to selected poetry in April so I can discover some new favorite poems and authors.

“The Rain Stick” by Seamus Herney

Who remembers having a teacher who used a rain stick to gain students’ attention? Who has bought a rain stick at a souvineer stand or toy store? If you are a teacher who has a rain stick or you have a middle-grade child with a rain stick, you might enjoy this poem! How do you “listen” to a poem?

Here’s a “sound” poem I think you might enjoy along with tips about “listening” to a poem.

Read “Rainstick” by Seamus Heaney

Hear “a rain stick” and hear “The Rain Stick” read for you here.

  • OK….what did you think?
  • Did this poem bring back childhood memories?
  • If you were to write a “sound” poem, what subject would you choose?

Meet the Author, Seamus Heaney

Poet Seamus HeaneySeamus Heaney is widely recognized as one of the major poets of the 20th century. A native of Northern Ireland, Heaney was raised in County Derry, and later lived for many years in Dublin. He was the author of over 20 volumes of poetry and criticism, and edited several widely used anthologies. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past.” Heaney taught at Harvard University (1985-2006) and served as the Oxford Professor of Poetry (1989-1994). He died in 2013.



QOTD:

Can you relate to this poem in some way?
Does this poem bring back a childhood memory?
If you were to write a “sound” poem, which subject would you chose?



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



***Blog 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

“Refugee Blues” [National Poetry Month]

April 15, 2022

“Refugee Blues” by W.H. Auden (1939)

Refugee Blues (image: a small girl sits on a box in a homeless or refugee camp)

Image Source: Canva

For #NationalPoetryMonth I am sharing one poem a week and spotlighting authors. I hesitate to copy the poem in this post because I do not want to break copyright laws, so I’ll link to it and hopefully you’ll click over and we can discuss it back here!

Honestly, I don’t read a great deal of poetry. My favorite form of poetry is a free verse novel (a full post on that coming later this month)….is that cheating? I’m looking forward to selected poetry in April so I can discover some new favorite poems and authors.

“Refugee Blues”

When I came across this poem (written in 1939), I couldn’t help but be struck by its tragic timeliness. As we watch the world news (war against Ukraine) and see refugee faces, I hope each of you have found a way to give to the relief efforts in a way that makes sense to you. I know the missionary organization I support is grateful for the solidarity of our prayers and for financial gifts. To help the refugee and the most innocent and fragile among us is our greatest calling.

I think you migh appreciate this poignant poem by Auden and it’s unique structure.

Read “Refugee Blues” by W. H. Auden

From the annotations: “In this poem Auden uses as a template the blues tradition, which developed in Black communities in the United States and has its origins in slave songs. Though composed through improvisation, the blues has a rigid pattern and strong use of repetition.

Auden applies this format to the plight of Jews in Europe at the time of the Nazi persecution in the 1930s and the difficulties and indifference they faced when seeking asylum. In setting the poem to the template of a blues song Auden could be drawing an analogy; both people have suffered.

Structure
The poem comprises three lined stanzas known as tercets. The first two lines of each stanza rhyme. The third line of each stanza is divided into two sections, internally rhymed, but separated by the refrain ‘my dear’. This works like the repeating chorus of a song.” ~Source

Hear “Refugee Blues” here.

  • OK….what did you think?
  • Were you able to relate to this poem in some way?
  • Have you read other poems by Auden?

Related: Books I’ve reviewed with Refugee themes: Refugee by Alan Gratz, Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (scroll down page), Other Words For Home by Jasmine Warga, The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri, and The Boat People by Sharon Bala.

Meet the Author, W.H. Auden

Poet W.H. AudenWystan Hugh Auden (21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973) was a British-American poet. Auden’s poetry was noted for its stylistic and technical achievement.

He was born in York and grew up in and near Birmingham in a professional middle-class family. He attended various English independent (or public) schools and studied English at Christ Church, Oxford. After a few months in Berlin in 1928–29, he spent five years (1930–35) teaching in British private preparatory schools, then travelled to Iceland and China to write books about his journeys.

In 1939, he moved to the United States and became an American citizen in 1946, retaining his British citizenship. He taught from 1941 to 1945 in American universities, followed by occasional visiting professorships in the 1950s. From 1947 to 1957 he wintered in New York and summered in Ischia; from 1958 until the end of his life he wintered in New York (in Oxford in 1972–73) and summered in Kirchstetten, Lower Austria.



QOTD:

Do you read poetry?
Do you have a favorite poem?



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



***Blog 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

Sea Wife [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 14, 2022

Sea Wife by Amity Gaige
#throwbackthursday

 

Sea Wife by Amity Gaige (cover) Image: a lagoon in the foreground and ocean expanse in the background

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Family Life, Suspense, Sea Life, Living Off the Grid, Adventure

Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I highlight an older review or post a current review of an old read. Today, I’m re-sharing a complicated family drama, Sea Wife by Amity Gaige.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Juliet and Michael are disillusioned with work, life, and marriage for individual reasons, and even though they are novice sailors, they set out for a yearlong sailing venture with their two young children. Things are fine at first until the unexpected happens. (see original post for trigger warnings)

Juliet is more than a wife and more than her husband’s plans for their life. At sea, she finds her voice, survives difficult circumstances, and plants seeds for envisioning a fulfilling future….

Continue here for my full review of Sea Wife..

(including trigger warnings)



QOTD:

Have you read Sea Wife or is it on your TBR?