The Water Dancer [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

October 7, 2021

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
#throwbackthursday

The Water Dancer review

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, African-American, Slavery, Underground Railroad

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 thought provoking and compelling story, The Water Dancer by Na-Hehisi Coates.

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 Water Dancer tells the engaging and powerful story of Hiram Walker who is born into slavery and who has a mysterious and magical power. He is compelled to leave his home and adopted mother as he follows his rebellious spirit and searches for freedom. Hiram connects with the Underground Railroad, masters his mysterious power, and seeks to return home on his own terms to rescue his adopted mother and his love interest.”

A powerful story with page-turning action…

Continue here for my full review of The Water Dancer…



QOTD:

Have you read The Water Dancer or is it on your TBR?

The Personal Librarian [Book Review]

June 25, 2021

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Murray (cover) Image: a young woman in a long red dress stands against the railing of a grand staircase....a small stack of books held to her chest

Genre/Categories/Setting: Biographical Historical Fiction, African-American Women, the Gilded Age, New York City

N*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary eARC upon my request. All opinions are my own.

The Personal Librarian is the fictionalized biography of Belle da Casta Greene, personal librarian to business tycoon, John Pierpont Morgan.  Belle curates a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for the Pierpont Morgan Library. In addition to becoming powerful in the art and book world, Belle develops a reputation as a shrewd negotiator and earns her place in New York Society. However, she has a well-guarded secret…..she is passing as white.

My Thoughts:

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The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 29, 2021

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray
#throwbackthursday

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Huntry Girls by Anissa Gray (cover) Image: text inside a yellow silhouette of the heads of 3 girls that are joined to form one graphic

Genre/Categories/Settings: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Sisters, Family Life, Mothers/Daughters, African-American Literature

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 The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray.

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 Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls shares the compelling and multilayered story of the three Butler sisters: Althea, Viola, and Lillian. Althea was a teenager when her mother died and the children were faced with living with their unstable and often absent father. As the oldest, Althea shouldered the burden of caring for her younger siblings. As adults, they each deal with their traumatic childhood in different ways. To the shock of the community, Althea and her husband face some serious criminal charges and years in prison. Viola and Lillian rally to care for Althea’s children. The story is told from three perspectives as we learn more about the family secrets and childhood trauma.”

Girls starving for love, safety, and stability….

Continue here for my full review of The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls or is it on your TBR?

#BlackHistoryMonth: 10 Reading Ideas

February 26, 2021

10 Reading Ideas for Black History Month

black history month

Image Source: Canva

I support reading Black authors all year, especially in February.

I hope you are inspired by reading ideas for Black History Month! Have you read any of these titles? Please add your recommendations in the comments.

Books are listed in no particular order: 5 of my most recent reads and 5 older must reads.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.



5 Recommended Recent Reads



Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly Baptist (cover) Image: the back view of a middle grade boy wearing a blue superhero cape and holding a pencil

Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist (Middle Grade) My review of Isaiah Dunn here.


Love is a Revolution by Renee Watson (cover) Image: a picture of a plus size Black girl surrounded by four smaller images of the same girl and her boyfriend

Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson (YA) My review of Love Is a Revolution here.


Piecing Me Together

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson (MG) Not yet reviewed, but this is a lovely Middle Grade read!


Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West (cover) Image: a young woman stands in profile against a pink, orange, and yellow background

Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West  Emotionally difficult and well written.


Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (cover) Image: white text with a maroon top and bottom border and branches with white blooms

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston An emotional and intense classic.



5 Highly Recommended Must Reads



These are books that I’ve read in the past years that are on my must read and highly recommended list.

just mercy

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (Memoir, Non Fiction, Racial Tension and Injustice). 4 Stars. My review of Just Mercy here.


Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (cover) Image: gold text on light pink (top half) and black (bottom half) background

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (family drama, addiction, faith and science, mental health)
5 Stars. My review of Transcendent Kingdom here.


Homegoing

Homegoing by Yaa Guasi (historical fiction, family multi generational saga)
This book is ambitious in its structure and memorable in its story telling….it hasn’t received enough attention! 5 Stars.


The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson  (historical narrative nonfiction). Ambitious history of black migration across the U.S. from post Civil War to the 1970s. 4 Stars (heavy on history….the three personal stories are memorable and heartfelt). A must read.


The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (contemporary fiction, racial tensions, YA)
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement. 5 Stars. My review of THUG Here.



QOTD:

Did you find a book to add to your TBR?

Share your own recommendations in comments!



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:
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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 covers are credited to Amazon.

© ReadingLadies.com



The Invention of Wings [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

February 25, 2021

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
#throwbackthursday

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (cover) Image: white text over a reddish orangish landscape that has birds flying low over the water

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Abolition of Slavery, Women’s Rights, African-American, Plantation Life

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, and today I’m eager to share my review of a book on my lifetime favorites list, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.compelling historical fiction.

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 Invention of Wings is a fictionalized biographical account of the real-life Grimke sisters as they become trailblazers in the abolition movement and early leaders in the fight for women’s rights.

The story takes place in the pre Civil War era and begins on a plantation in Charleston. On the occasion of Sarah Grimke’s eleventh birthday, she’s presented with her own slave, ten-year old Hetty “Handful” Grimke. Sarah has always been uncomfortable with this tradition. At first, Sarah and Handful are more like sisters and playmates as they develop a friendly companionship. As the story progresses, Sarah leaves Charleston to join her adventurous and fearless sister, Angelina, in the north as early pioneers in the fight for abolition and women’s rights. We follow Sarah’s and Hetty’s journeys for thirty-five years as both women strive to carve out a life of their own and navigate a close and complex relationship.”

A fictionalized biographical account of the Grimke sisters as they become trailblazers in the abolition movement and early leaders in the fight for women’s rights.

Continue here for my full review of The Invention of Wings ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Invention of Wings or is it on your TBR?

Love Is a Revolution [Book Review]

veFebruary 16, 2021

Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson

Love is a Revolution by Renee Watson (cover) Image: a plus size Black girl is centered....4 smaller images of the same girl and her boyfriend sound her

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Young Adult Fiction, African-American, Coming of Age

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Nala Robertson meets a cute boy, Tye Brown, at open mic night. They experience an instant attraction but Nala is worried because they have very different interests….Tye is an activist, a vegetarian, and a community organizer while Nala would rather stay home and watch movies and enjoy a juicy, fully-loaded hamburger. Nala finds herself lying to Tye to foster a foundation of common interests and to encourage him to keep asking her out. As much as this is a cute romance on the surface, the story is more substantially about loving others as well as yourself, discovering the things that are truly important to you, and embracing your authentic self.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

An American Marriage [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

November 26, 2020

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
#throwbackthursday

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones: Black text over a bare gold tree against a blue background

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Life Reflection, Quirky Character

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 thrilled to share my review of the compelling An American Marriage….racial injustice and the test of a marriage.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“Celestial and Roy are newlyweds living in the New South. While Celestial is an aspiring artist, Roy is a young executive. Early in their marriage, Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime he didn’t commit. Can their marriage survive the tragic circumstances and the separation? Soon after incarceration, Celestial begins to accept comfort and companionship from Andre, her childhood friend and Roy’s best man at their wedding. When Roy is released from prison five years later, he expects to pick up his life where he’s left off, but a great deal has changed. This is a thoughtful and heartfelt story of love, marriage, family, and friendship, of hope and heartbreak, of loss and starting over.”

Continue here for my full review of An American Marriage ….



QOTD:

Have you read An American Marriage or is it on your TBR?



Happy Thanksgiving if you’re celebrating!

Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by colorful autumn leaves and a few pumpkins

Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero [Book Review]

October 21, 2020

Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist


Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly Baptist (cover) Image: the back view of a middle grade boy wearing a blue superhero cape and holding a pencil

Genre/Categories: Middle Grade Realistic Fiction, Family Issues, Poverty, Homelessness, Grief, African American

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Are you someone’s Hero?

Isaiah is the older brother and is grieving the loss of his father. Isaiah feels the burden of holding the family together. The most important people in his life include his four-year-old sister who never stops asking questions, his mother who is depressed and drinking too much, and his best friend Sneaky. Because of her grief, Mom has taken a leave of absence from her job and they lose their apartment when she has difficulty paying the rent. As the pressure mounts, Isaiah gets in trouble at school and fights with his best friend. Isaiah’s one true comfort is reading the stories in his dad’s journal that his dad wrote for him, and his safe place is the library. In his dad’s stories, Isaiah is a hero and Isaiah ponders how he can be a hero and help his family.

a cartoon drawing of several superheroes

My Thoughts:

(more…)

#throwbackthursday The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

April 16, 2020

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
#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 sharing my review of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas as well as sharing several of my favorite diverse reads. Have you read THUG or seen the movie?

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (cover) Image: an African American girl holdinga large white poster with the book title

Genre/Categories: YA Contemporary Fiction, African-American

My Summary:

“Our sixteen-year-old main character, Starr, lives in a poor inner-city neighborhood and her mother drives her to an upper-middle-class private school miles across town for her education. Starr’s parents can afford to move out of the poorer neighborhood, but her dad, a former gang member and convict, believes it’s important to stay in the neighborhood to help solve the problems there and to be a role model and support for the young African-American males who desire to leave the gang life and pursue better options. Starr’s mother would like to move across town to the middle class more diverse neighborhood where Starr and her siblings attend a (predominately white) private school and where the family attends a “diverse” church “(she nicknames it “the diverse church). Starr manages to live between her two worlds of the Williamson private school crowd and her neighborhood friends. This causes her some stress because she feels she can’t totally be herself in either place. One night Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed childhood best friend by a police officer. The officer-involved shooting and her friend’s death make national headlines. Starr is faced with opinions and actions from both sides. Some reporters and private school friends say that the victim was a thug and perhaps a gang member and drug dealer and deserved to die. Friends in the neighborhood, including Starr who really knew the victim, defend him. As Starr faces her role as a witness, interrogation by the DA, involvement in protests, and publicity, she and her family also endure intimidation by the local drug lord (because if she testifies, she might incriminate him). Starr summons up all her courage so that her testimony and answers are honest and truthful to the best of her ability. What she says could endanger her life and cause further protests in the community. How will she use her voice?”

Click here to continue reading my review of The Hate U Give (plus more recommendations for diverse reads)….

QOTD: Have you read The Hate U Give or is it on your TBR?

Black History Month: 10 Memorable Reads

February 7, 2020

10 Memorable Reads for Black History Month

10 Reading Ideas for Black History Month (image: right focus on a woman's hands reading a book sitting by water)

I hope you are inspired by reading ideas for Black History Month! Have you read any of these titles? Please add your recommendations in the comments.

Books are listed in no particular order. The title I selected are stories set in the U.S., but I’m adding a section for stories set in Africa, too! Not all of the titles are #ownvoices authors (I’ve noted the ones that are). Titles are Amazon affiliate links and you will find some links to reviews (some I read before I began the blog).

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Just Mercy cover

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (Memoir, Nonfiction, Racial Tension, and Injustice). 4 Stars. My Full Review Here. #ownvoices
***Adapted for YA

The Water Dancer cover

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Literary Fiction, historical fiction, Slavery) 5 Stars. My Full Review Here. #ownvoices

The Invention of Wings cover

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (historical fiction, abolitionist movement)
A favorite read over the past several years. 5 Stars. My Full Review Here.

Homegoing cover

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (historical fiction, family multi-generational saga)
This book is ambitious in its structure and memorable in its storytelling….it hasn’t received enough attention! Although it begins in Africa, it ends in the U.S. 5 Stars. #ownvoices

The Warmth of Other Suns cover

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (a combination of history and narrative nonfiction). An ambitious history of black migration across the U.S. from post Civil War to the 1970s. 4 Stars (heavy on history….the three personal stories are memorable and heartfelt). #ownvoices

The Hate U Give cover

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (contemporary fiction, racial tensions, YA)
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement. 5 Stars. My Full Review Here. #ownvoices

The Kitchen House cover

Glory Over Everything cover

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (historical fiction, slavery) and the sequel Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom  (historical fiction, passing as white). Both 5 Stars.

Small Great Things cover

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (contemporary fiction, racial tension). 4 Stars. Brief Review in This Post Here.

Dreamland Burning cover

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (historical fiction, YA). 5 Stars. Brief Review in This Post Here.


Runners Up:

The Mothers cover

The Mothers by Brit Bennett  4 Stars. My Brief Goodreads Review Here. #ownvoices

The Gilded Years cover

The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe (historical fiction, biographical, first black woman to attend Vassar). 4 Stars. My Full Review Here.

An American Marriage Cover

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Women’s Fiction, Family Life). 4.5 Stars. My Full Review Here. #ownvoices


Also Recommended:
Stories Set in Africa

Hum if You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais (cover)

Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais (histfic). 4. Stars. Full Review Here.

If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais (cover)

If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais (histfic). 4 Stars. My Full Review Here.

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare (cover)

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare (contemporary fiction). 5 Stars. (I love this one….review coming) #0wnvoices


Middle Grade Recommendations

We Beat the Street cover

We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success by Sampson Davis  (middle grade, biography/memoir). 4 Stars. #ownvoices

Stella by Starlight cover

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M Draper (middle grade historical fiction, racial tension). 4 Stars.

Brown Girl Dreaming cover

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (middle grade childhood memoir) 5 Stars. My Full Review Here. #ownvoices

Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (cover)

Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (MG histfic, slavery)


February Read:

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (cover)

Born a Crime (memoir) by Trevor Noah #ownvoices



QOTD!

Did you find a book to add to your TBR?

What are you reading for Black History Month?

Share your own recommendations in comments!



ICYMI

Winter 2019 TBR (update)

My Love/Hate Relationship With DNF

Trigger Warnings: Yes or No?

How I Use Goodreads

Nonfiction/Fiction Pairings



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 photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.