The Book Woman’s Daughter [Book Review]

May 3, 2022

The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman's Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson (cover) Image: an old pair of high top books sits on top of a stack of old hardback books

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Southern Fiction, Books About Books, Literacy, Appalachia, Kentucky, Librarians, Racism, Prejudice, Poverty

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

…a stubbborn mule, a best friend, and a pajama party…

Thanks #NetGalley @SourceBooks (Landmark) @Bookmarked for a complimentary eARC of #TheBookWomansDaughter by @KimMicheleRichardson upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Honey Mary Angeline Lovett is the daughter of the beloved pack horse librarian known as The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. Honey faces discrimination as one of the “blue people” and is also fighting for her independence and emancipation because her parents have been imprisoned for breaking the law against mixed marriage. As Honey hides from the law and social services who seek to institulionalize her as a minor, she meets a few extraordinary women and follows in her mom’s footsteps to deliver books and the promise of literacy to the remote hollers of Appalachia.

My Thoughts:

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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:

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Little Fires Everywhere [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

March 31, 2022

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
#throwbackthursday

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (cover) I/mage: birdseye view of a pristine upper class neighborhood

Genre/Categories: contemporary fiction, family life, mothers and children, complicated family drama, transracial adoption

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, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, strives to be a perfect planned community. In the words of the author, there is a “propensity to overachieve and a deep intolerance for flaws…a utopia.” Every winding road is thoughtfully laid out, the list of house colors is a strict guideline, trash pickup is conducted in the alleys and all trash cans are out of sight, and tradition is revered and informs the future. Generations of Elena Richardson’s family have lived in Shaker Heights, and she ensures that her family follows the rules and lives up to expectations. All through her life, she has followed the rules and this is wholeheartedly embraced as her highest value. Part of her personal code of following the rules is giving back to those that are less fortunate whenever she can, and she’s the type who keeps a mental list of her good deeds. Elena especially wants to use her inherited rental property near her home to benefit others. She earnestly seeks out renters that could gain from the advantage of living in her perfect neighborhood in Shaker Heights. Mia Warren, a free-spirited artistic non-rule follower, and her teenage daughter, Pearl, are the most recent beneficiaries of Mrs. Richardson’s benevolence. Although when Mia is less than grateful for Mrs. Richardson’s offer to buy one of Mia’s photographs, Elena Richardson makes a mental note and this slight continues to bother her and becomes a motivation for her future relationship with Mia. As the story unfolds, the two families become more involved with each other rather than simply remaining tenant and landlord. It becomes complicated.

A rule follower and a free spirit…

Continue here for my full review of Little Fires Everywhere..



QOTD:

Have you read Little Fires Everywhere or is it on your TBR?
Have you seen the mini series adaptation?

 

Ghost [Book Review] #MiddleGradeMarch

March 25, 2022

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Bonus: 10+ Favorite Middle Grade Reads!

(top view) picture of a middle grade child reading on a recliner covered with a reddiish knitted afghan

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds (cover) Black text on a yellow background....a young African American boy is running off the page

Genre/Categories: Middle Grade Contemporary Fiction, Diverse Reads (African-American), Sports (Track and Field)

My Summary:

Castle Cranshaw, aka “Ghost,” loves to run. One day, he challenges an elite sprinter to a race and wins which gains the attention of a track and field coach. Believing Ghost has natural talent, coach invites him to join his track team. Although Ghost can run, he also has a lot of anger, is often in trouble at school, and has a complicated family life. Can he become part of the team or will his behavior choices hold him back?

Silver running shoes

My Thoughts:

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I Must Betray You [Book Review] #YoungAdult #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge

March 18, 2022

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

Are You Young at Heart?
Do You Have YA Fiction on Your Bookshelf?

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys (cover) Image: in a muted blue toned picture, a person walks alone under turbulent skies toward a palace with a flag

Today for the March #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on “Young Adult” fiction as I bring you a review of I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys.

Every year, I commit to reading a few YA fiction titles. One of my favorite YA histfic authors is Ruta Sepetys….and I’m proud to declare myself a Sepetys completist! You may be familiar with her back list: Salt to the Sea, Between Shades of Gray, The Fountains of Silence, and Out of the Easy.

Following today’s review, I’ll list a few of my favorite YA titles.

Do you have a favorite YA author or recomendation?

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

Genre/Categories/Setting: Young Adult Historical Fiction, Romania, Communism, Freedom

My Summary:

In 1989, Romania is ruled by dictator, Nicalae Ceausescu. Seventeen-year-old Cristian along with other citizens of Romania deal with intimidation, isolation, fear, repression, hunger, blackmail, informants, and having no voice. Cristian is forced into the impossible situation of betraying friends and family. He hears rumors of revolution and yearns to join it. But what can a young man do? How can he make a difference? How will he make his voice heard?

My Thoughts:

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Castle of Water [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

March 10, 2022

Castle of Water by Dane Hucklebridge
#throwbackthursday

Castle of Water by Dane Hucklebridge (kindle propped against a softly muted floral pillow shows cover)

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Survival, Action/Adventure, Love Story, Uninhabited Island

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 survival story, Castle of Water by Dane Hucklebridge.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“And so it came to pass that two utterly disparate lives happened to overlap … bound together on an uninhabited island some 2,359 miles from Hawaii, 4,622 miles from Chile, and 533 miles from the nearest living soul.
Crap, as Barry liked to say.
Putain de merde, as Sophie was known to exclaim.”

Sophie, an architect and honeymooner, and Barry, disillusioned with his career in finance and seeking inspiration for his love of art end up on one very small island when their plane is hit by lightning and crashes in the middle of the South Pacific. Strangers and sole survivors and as different as night and day, Sophie and Barry wash up on a small uninhabited island and survival becomes their primary objective. Sophie and Barry draw from each other’s strengths and skills and through harrowing experiences, keep the hope of rescue alive.

 Themes of home, love, loss, sadness, perseverance, heartbreak, hope, resiliency, friendship, and desperation…

Continue here for my full review of Castle of Water…



QOTD:

Have you read Castle of Water or is it on your TBR?

 

The Last Train to London [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

February 24, 2022

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton
#throwbackthursday

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton (cover)

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, WW11, Jewish, Nazi-Occupied Europe

Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I highlight an older review or post a current review of an old read. Today, I’m re-sharing one of my favorite inspirational historical fiction reads, The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Rescuing children, her life’s work…

The Last Train to London shares the story of real-life hero Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance who risked her life smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi-occupied Europe. (She was honored as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. )

The mission known as Kindertransport carried thousands of children out of Nazi-occupied Europe. In addition to hearing about Tante Truus as she was known, the author imagines the lives of children such as Stephan (budding playwright), his younger brother. and Zofie-Helene (mathematics protegee).

Auntie Truus (headshot)Tante Truus: Image Source: Wikipedia

Courage isn’t the absence of fear, rather the going forward in the face of it…

Continue here for my full review of The Last Train to London…



QOTD:

Have you read The Last Train to London or is it on your TBR?

 

Are You a Rereader? What Makes You Reread A Book? #EleanorOliphantIsCompletelyFine [Book Review] #LetsTalkBookish #LetsDiscuss2022

February 2, 2022

Are you a rereader?

What makes you reread a book?

Are You a Rereader? Rereading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (white text over a background of a stack of hardback books)

 

Image Source: Canva

Some avid readers are rereaders and some are not. Which are you?

How do you decide what to reread? What makes you want to reread? Are you a frequent rereader or an occassional rereader? Maybe you’ve never reread a book and can tell us why.

I’m reviewing Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (a reread) in today’s blog post.

I was going to clean the house, but then I realised.l..this book isn't going to read itself (Image: a young woman sits on the floor leaning against a cabinet reading a book)

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 answer the questions, think about how you would answer them for yourself. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

This post is inspired by the Let’s Talk Bookish topic hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. This post is also an entry for the 2022 Discussion Challenge (this is also my sign up post), hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight.

2022 Discussion Challenge (meme)

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Am I a Rereader?

Not really. I seldom reread. So many books, so little time! The few books I have reread are on my lifetime favorites list. I can’t envision rereading a book I didn’t absolutely love. Are you a rereader?

What Motivates Me to Reread?

Upon reading the last page of a book I really really loved, I put it on my lifetime favorites list. These are the books that I choose from if I’m going to reread.

I realize that rereading can have a different purpose from the first read. Maybe in a reread I can pay closer attention to the author’s writing and style; maybe I’m looking for clues that I missed or evidence for why the author chose a certain ending; maybe I’m looking for evidence for a conclusion I drew from the author’s open ending; maybe its to revisit certain themes or beloved characters; or maybe the book was just so beautiful that I want to immerse myself in that world again. I’m a fairly fast reader, so rereading helps me focus on other elements (besides a pageturning plot).

What motivated me to reread the book I’m reviewing today?

  • I LOVED it!
  • The jaw dropping ending had me immediately contemplating a reread some day so that I could appreciate the way the author constructed the story and developed the characters.
  • A few members of my online book club chose to read this book in January and I thought it would be fun to reread and discuss it with others.
  • I read it before blogging and have never written a formal review (which you’ll receive today!).

My Biggest Drawbacks in Rereading:

  1. Because I only reread books from my lifetime favorites list, I’m always afraid that I won’t love it as much as the first time.
  2. So many books, so little time.
  3. I suffer from FOMO and I’m distracted by the new and shiny, so the pleasure of rereading gets pushed to the back burner.

Can you relate to any of my drawbacks?

What Books Have I Reread?

See? It’s not many! There are so many books and so little time that I seldom feel I have the time to invest in a reread. The reason I reread the last three MG books is that I’m in a MG book club and I wanted to reread the selections before I made the recommendations. How many books have you reread?

What Books Would I Like to Reread Next?

  1. A Place For Us
  2. Anxious People
  3. The Hiding Place

Do you have a reread planned?

Today’s Review and My Recent Reread:
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (cover)

My Summary:

Eleanor has a carefully constructed life and daily routine, avoids close relationships, and says exactly what she thinks. Her weekends involve frozen pizza and vodka. Every Wednesday she talks with Mummy. The day she meets easy going and big-hearted Raymond, the IT guy, things begin to change as she opens her heart to friendship.

My Thoughts:

(I think this is a story best read without reading reviews first, so proceed with caution as I might reveal more than you want to know.)

Common Misconception: I frequently hear Eleanor Oliphant described as humorous and quirky. My opinion differs. Yes, Eleanor is outspoken and her observations and comments are candid and at times snarky. Many times, her behaviors and observations brought a smile to my face. However, there’s obviously so much more going on that I wouldn’t describe it as humorous or quirky. I think of it more as a story of trauma and survival.

The Hero: Raymond is the hero in the story. He’s kind, nonjudgemental, accepting, encouraging, consistent, persistent, understanding, thoughtful, and patient. A true friend. A “foil” to all the unkind people at work. I hope that you have a Raymond in your life and you are a Raymond to others. #ChooseKindness

I LOVE brave Eleanor. I admire Eleanor and her ability to carve out the life she does in spite of her past trauma which is alluded to throughout the story. She is a survivor. I love that Raymond is her friend (and I hope much more!).

“I felt the heat where his hand had been; it was only a moment, but it left a warm imprint, almost as though it might be visible. A human hand was exactly the right weight, exactly the right temperature for touching another person, I realized. I’d shaken hands a fair bit over the year–more so recently–but I hadn’t been touched in a lifetime.”

Guaranteed UNFORGETTABLE. This is a difficulty story to review because it’s best “to discover for yourself.” After I read the last page, I KNEW that this story would demand a reread. I was engaged as much on the reread as I was the first time even though I knew the big reveal. The way Gail Honeyman constructs the story and develops the character is masterful!

Compelling Themes: loneliness, bravery, honesty, survival, unconditional love, healing, acceptance, friendship, and restoration.

***contains spoilers***
Content Considerations: past spousal abuse and domestic violence, past childhood neglect and violence, suicide attempt, alcholism, workplace harassment (bullying)

Highly Recommended: I realize that this might not be a book for everyone, but Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is on my lifetime favorites list and I highly encourage you to give this unique story a try. Recommended for readers who appreciate complex personalities and complicated lives. I’ve heard Eleanor Oliphant compared to other “quirky” reads and characters, but for me she is in a category all her own and can not be compared. Have you read it?

My Star Rating: 5 Stars

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (cover)

Eleanor Oliphant Information Here.

Meet the Author, Gail Honeyman

Gail HoneymanGail was born and raised in Stirling, Scotland. Her mother was as a civil servant and her father a scientist. Gail was an avid reader in her childhood, visiting the library “a ridiculous number of times a week” due to her passion for books.

She studied French language and literature at the Glasgow University and continued her education at the University of Oxford, starting a postgraduate course in French poetry. However, Gail realised that an academic career was not for her and she started a string of “backroom jobs”. She worked at first as a civil servant in economic development and then as an administrator at Glasgow University.

While working at Glasgow University, Gail enrolled in a Faber Academy writing course, writing the first three chapters of what would become Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Cambridge’s Lucy Cavendish College was running a competition for unpublished fiction by female writers and it was just what she was looking for to fulfill her lifelong passion for reading, so she submitted her work and the rest is history. The novel was published in 2017 and earned numerous awards, sold millions of copies, and received wide critical acclaim.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine won the 2017 Costa First Novel Award.

 



QOTD:

What makes you reread or not reread? What is the last book you reread?

Have you read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine?

If you are a rereader, what has been your favorite reread?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

Arborview [Book Review]

January 26, 2022

Arborview by Karen Guzman

Arborview by Karen Guzman (cover) Image: white text over a background picture of a group of trees in the foreground and a grassy field in the background

Genre/Categories/Setting: Women’s Contemporary Fiction, Marriage, Family Life, Career, Northeast U.S.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks @WildRosePress and @KGuzman_author for a complimentary electronic copy of #ArborView for my review consideration. All opinions are my own. Thanks for the opportunity Karen! I’m thrilled that your book “found” me!

Dream big…how big is too big?

Arborview is the quietly compelling story of two courageous and determined women: one starting over at midlife and one just starting out in life with one big dream. It’s a hope-filled story of connection, reflection, chasing dreams, friendship, and women helping women.

small rustic treehouse

If you can imagine yourself climbing up to a rustic treehouse for peace, reflection, and making life decisions this is a perfect read for you!

My Thoughts:

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The Printed Letter Bookshop [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

January 20,  2022

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay
#throwbackthursday

The Printed Letter Bookshop (cover) by Katherine Reay

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Books About Books, Women’s Fiction, Small Town, Bookshop

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 engaging story of friendship, faith, and forgiveness, The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay. This is on my lifetime favorites list!

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“Madeleine’s happiest childhood memory is spending time at her Aunt Maddie’s house and her beloved bookshop. Suddenly, the families become estranged and Madeleine hasn’t seen her aunt in twenty years. After her aunt dies, Madeleine discovers she has inherited everything: the bookshop, the house, the car, and all the debt. At the same time, Madeleine’s career plans are in jeopardy and she begins to seriously investigate what saving the bookshop, moving, and a new plan for her life might involve.”

friendship…forgiveness…second chances…new beginnings ….

Continue here for my full review of The Printed Letter Bookshop…



QOTD:

Have you read The Printed Letter Bookshop or is it on your TBR?