#6Degrees of Separation: From Wolfe Island to…

March 7, 2020

 #6Degrees of Separation: From Wolfe Island to…

A collage of all titles

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

#6Degrees of Separation: from Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar to The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré.

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. I’ve seen this meme around for a while and a recent post by Davida at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog inspired me to give it a try this year! Making connections between books is challenging, creative, and fun!

Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:

  • Link the books together in any way you like.
  • Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books are My Favourite and Best.
  • Share these rules in your post.
  • Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
  • Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
  • Share your post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hash tag.
  • Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.

Play Along?

This month’s prompt starts with Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar

Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar (cover)

Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar is a book I have not heard about, but it sounds like one I might be interested in adding to my TBR.

Amazon Summary: “For years Kitty Hawke has lived alone on Wolfe Island, witness to the island’s erosion and clinging to the ghosts of her past. Her work as a sculptor and her wolfdog Girl are enough. News of mainland turmoil is as distant as myth until refugees from that world arrive: her granddaughter Cat, and Luis and Alejandra, a brother and sister escaping persecution. When threats from the mainland draw closer, they are forced to flee for their lives. They travel north through winter, a journey during which Kitty must decide what she will do to protect the people she loves.

Part western, part lament for a disappearing world, Wolfe Island (set off the northeast coast of the US) is a transporting novel that explores connection and isolation and the ways lives and families shatter and are remade.”

The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister (cover)First Degree. From the summary, the remote and isolated island location in the northeast coast of the U.S. immediately reminds me of the remote island (also located along the northeast coast of the U>S.) in The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister.

My Summary: Emmeline lives on a small isolated and remote island with her father. They function as survivalists by foraging and growing their own food. Even though Emmeline and her father are isolated, the father has a contact who arrives by boat and occasionally delivers items that can’t be acquired on the island. Emmeline’s father teaches her about the natural world through her senses. Emmeline’s world is filled with love and security and it’s all she knows. Her father also has a mysterious machine that creates or captures scents (similar to a Polaroid camera), and he has scents stored in drawers that line the walls of their cabin. Although she’s curious about the scents, her father doesn’t offer a great deal of explanation. One day, Emmeline is forced out into the real world beyond the sanctuary of her island. She sets out on a quest to understand the life her father created for them, her father’s reasons, and the secrets he safeguarded. My Review.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (cover)Second Degree: Although not as remote, the atmospheric setting and a young girl on her own reminds me of the southern swamp setting in Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. In both survival stories, young girls are left to fend for themselves.

My Summary: Living in the marsh outside a quiet, small town on the coast of North Carolina, Kya Clark, later known as the “Marsh Girl,” is abandoned by her entire family and learns to survive in the marsh on her own from the age of ten. One by one her older siblings abandon the family, her mother leaves when Kya is about seven, and finally her father, a difficult, unreliable, and drunk man, leaves when she’s ten. Kya attends school for one day after a truant officer catches her. On that day, she is teased by the students, knows she’s hopelessly behind academically, and never returns. Preferring the isolation and safety of the marsh, she learns what she can through observing nature. Although she can survive on her own, she begins to long for companionship as she reaches her teen years. Two boys from town attract her attention. One of them turns up dead, and she is suspected of murder. The other becomes a life long supporter and friend. A coming of age story with a fair share of tragedy, mystery, and grit, this is an unforgettable read you’ll want to devour and recommend. My Review.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (cover)Third Degree: Connecting to these strong themes of isolation and survival, I’m reminded of The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. This young girl is not on an island and is not on her own, but the family is isolated in Alaska and the young girl is faced with physical as well as emotional survival.

My Summary: The Great Alone is a story about a dysfunctional family that eventually moves to the harsh wilderness of Alaska to make a fresh start. In this page turner by Kristin Hannah (author of the Nightingale), thirteen-year-old Leni watches her gentle and artistic mother struggle to live a happy and secure life with her father, a Vietnam War vet, who suffers from PTSD.  A survivalist, her father becomes more paranoid and controlling as the story progresses. ***trigger warnings for emotional and physical abuse***  Leni, struggling to stay in school and walking on egg shells around her father, is also concerned about her mother and about their general well-being as the dark winter and isolation of the Alaskan wilderness cause her father’s symptoms to worsen. The first part of the story is slower paced and devoted to establishing a sense of place, character development, and a slow build up of the problem. The last part of the story  unfolds at a rapid pace and there are attempts to escape and confrontations. Some have commented that the ending is tied together easily, quickly, and conveniently. This didn’t bother me too much because rapid emotional plot twists are Kristin Hannah’s style and part of me was eager and relieved to have closure to Leni’s story.  If you’re looking for an engaging page turner with an Alaskan wilderness setting, this is a good selection to meet that criteria. My Review.

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This Won’t End Well: A Review

March 6, 2020

This Won’t End Well by Camille Pagán

This Won't End Well (cover) .... a young woman peeking through some bushes

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Thank Jaymi @ Orange County Readers for the free copy! All opinions are my own.

Summary:

No new people….

In the long tradition of other beloved, quirky characters, Annie Mercer feels best when she limits her interactions with new people. As a scientist, she analyzes her life experiences through the lens of science. Suddenly her organized life is turned upside down: she loses her job, curiosity about a new neighbor consumes her, her fiance takes a leave of absence, and a personable and charismatic private investigator surprises her. Ultimately Annie is faced with some big, life-changing decisions.

My Thoughts:

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Hillbilly Elegy #throwbackthursday

March 5, 2020

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
#throwbackthursday

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

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m starting with my review of Hillbilly Elegy. Enjoy!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (cover)

Genre/Categories: memoir, nonfiction, biography, sociology, poverty

My Summary:

Hillbilly Elegy is a thought-provoking, powerful, and sincere memoir about growing up in a white working-class family in a poor Rust Belt town in Ohio. A Yale Law School graduate and a former marine, J. D. Vance is originally from Kentucky’s Appalachia region. His grandparents who were “dirt poor and in love” moved the family to Ohio in the hopes of escaping devastating poverty. Throughout the memoir, we learn that despite a geographical move, the family was never able to entirely escape the hillbilly culture of alcoholism, poverty, abuse, and trauma. Even though J. D. Vance beat the odds and graduated from law school, he still struggles to come to terms with his chaotic family history. The memoir is filled with detailed, humorous, dramatic, and colorful examples of what his life was like.

Favorite Quote:

“I want people to understand what happens in the lives of the poor and the psychological impact
that spiritual and material poverty has
on their children.”

Click here to continue reading my review….

QOTD: Have you read Hillbilly Elegy or is it on your TBR?

Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit: A Review

March 3, 2020

Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit by Eliese Colette Goldbach

Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit by Eliese Colette Godbach (cover)

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Unions, Steel

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks #netgalley #flatironbooks for a free E ARC of #rustamemoirofsteelandgrit in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Eliese shatters the stereotype…….Have you ever thought of a steelworker as a college-educated, twenty-something female?

For Eliese, the “stinky” local steel mill in Cleveland, Ohio represents everything from which she is trying to escape. Although it was never her dream job, practicality demands that she needs job security and a good salary. In Rust, Eliese shares about her childhood, her Christian roots and parents’ values, applying to the mill, receiving a good paycheck, facing daily danger in the mill, forming unexpected friendships, working and maintaining relationships with mental illness, gender equality, and an abundance of political opinions.

My Thoughts:

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Women’s History Month 2020: 10 Inspirational Reads

March 2, 2020

Women’s History Month 2020: 10 Inspirational Reads

Six young women standing on a bluff with itheir hands on the shoulders of the girl in front of her ... all facing sideways looking at the ocean

Do You Need a Reading Idea for Women’s History Month?

Inspired by Women’s History Month, which was established to amplify women’s voices and value their contributions to history, I searched through my reading lists to find stories about inspirational women whom we can celebrate during Women’s History Month.

Historical Fiction is filled with inspirational women; some are actual historical figures and others are fictional characters who lived during a certain historical time period. For this list, I’ve chosen stories about real women in history. Titles are Amazon links and my available reviews are linked.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

In no particular order….

Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini

Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini (cover)

Brave women in the German resistance movement before and during WW11. (histfic) Full Review Here

Ribbons of Scarlet by Kate Quinn et al.

Ribbons of Scarlet by Kate Quinn et al. (cover)

Seven brave women of the French Revolution. (histfic) Full Review Here.

Learning to See by Elise Hooper

Learning to See by Elise Hooper (cover)

The fictionalized biographical history of photographer Dorothea Lange. Full Review Here.

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie (cover)

This fictionalized biographical narrative of Eliza Hamilton reveals her vital contributions to U. S. History in her role as Mrs. Alexander Hamilton. Full Review Here

America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie (cover)

This fictionalized biographical narrative of Patsy Jefferson reveals her important role in the presidency of Thomas Jefferson and her contribution to her father’s overall health, well being, and success. Full Review Here

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February 2020 Reading Wrap Up

February 29, 2020

February 2020 Reading Wrap Up

February 2020 Reading Wrap Up (a collage of nine book covers talked about in the post)

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

What Was Your Best February Read?

February was a mixed result reading month with one five-star read and several four-star reads. Three of my reads this month count toward my long term goal of reading more diversely. I read a total of nine books, and I had one DNF (which is always a frustrating use of time). Find all my February reads listed below in order of Star Rating and preference. Keep in mind that I normally recommend five- and four-star reads on the blog; three-star reads receive mixed reviews from me for various reasons; and two-star reads are books that were not for me. One star reads are usually shelved as DNF.

My favorite fiction read of the month is The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré. Favorite nonfiction read of the month is Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.

Did we read any of the same books?

Titles are Amazon affiliate links and my available reviews are linked.


 The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

5+ Stars. Contemporary Fiction (diverse read). An inspiring and memorable main character. A favorite read of the year thus far. My full review here.


The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

4.5 Stars. Contemporary Women’s Fiction. My new favorite book about books. My full review here.


Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

4.5 Stars. Historical fiction and multilayered family drama. Exposes the controversial Eugenics Program of the 1960s. (not yet reviewed)


Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

4 Stars. Nonfiction, Memoir. (diverse read) Growing up half black/half white in Apartheid South Africa. Full review here.

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Blog Audit Challenge 2020: February

February 28, 2020 

February’s Blog Audit Challenge 2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020 (picture of a woman's hands on the keyboard of a laptop)Blogging Friends,

This year I’m participating in a Blog Audit Challenge 2020 hosted by Jo Linsdell. The plan is to work on making our blogs even better and setting our goals for the coming months. Each month will have its own challenge to work through. Join us!

February’s Challenge is to focus on Information Pages:

1. About Page

One of the first things I look for when I land on a new-to-me blog is the About page. I’m disappointed every time there isn’t one. Jo Linsdell states that the About page is statistically one of the most visited pages on a blog, and I’m adding to those statistics every time I visit a blog. Before I give a follow, I like to know just a little bit about the blogger. I’m looking for a picture, points of connection, and a smattering of compatibility. One item that Jo Lindsell suggested is including a CTA (call to the action on the About page), so I edited mine to include that. I hope you’ll give my About page (found among the menu tabs) a glance and that you find it helpful.

2. Legal Disclaimers

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The Winemaker’s Wife: A Review

February 26, 2020

The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel

The Winemaker's Wife by Kristin Harmel (cover)

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, France

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Told from multiple perspectives and in a past and present timeline, The Winemaker’s Wife is a story of secrets, survival, guilt, and love.

Through the perspectives of Inès and Céline, we experience the intrigue of their daily lives before and during the German invasion of France during WW11; we learn details of the champagne production at the (fictional) Maison Chauveau in northern France near the city of Reims; and we also hear a little about the French resistance (hiding munitions and Jews). An alternate present-day timeline shares the story of Liv who is mysteriously whisked away from her home in New York to France by her eccentric grandmother. There are secrets from the past to be revealed.

My Thoughts:

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The Girl in White Gloves: A Review

February 25, 2020

The Girl in White Gloves by Kerri Maher

The Girl in White Gloves by Kerri Maher (cover)

Genre/Categories: Biographical Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks #netgalley #berkleypub for a free e ARC of #thegirlinwhitegloves by Kerri Maher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

In this highly fictionalized biographical historical fiction of the life of an American actress turned princess, we get a glimpse into Grace Kelly‘s childhood dreams, her rise to fame, and her eventual royal life as Princess of Monaco.

 

Hollywood Actress and Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly (head shot)

Image Source: Wikipedia

Grace Kelly smiling and waving (wearing white gloves)

Image Source: Beyond Grace Kelly

My Thoughts:

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Born a Crime: A Review

February 21, 2020

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (cover)

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, South Africa

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Compelling, humorous, and inspiring…

Trevor Noah’s life in Apartheid South Africa began with a crime. He was born to a white father and a black Xhosa mother. This had to be kept a secret because the relationship was punishable by five years in prison. In a racially divided country, Trevor spent most of his early childhood living behind closed doors because his light color would certainly give away the circumstances of his birth and place his parents (who were living separately) in danger. If the government discovered the circumstances of his birth, they could even take him away from his mother. At the end of Apartheid and later in his childhood, Trevor Noah faced the challenge of deciding with which group he would identify: white, black, or colored (mixed). He felt like an outsider for most of his childhood and young adult years. Trevor enjoyed a close relationship with his risk-taking, rebellious, and spiritual mother. He was intuitive and street smart but also incredibly mischievous. The essays that document his coming of age are humorous, insightful, honest, and at times disturbing.

Amazon Star Rating (February): 4.8 Stars

My Thoughts:

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