Under the Magnolias [Book Review]

July 20, 2021

Under the Magnolias by T.I. Lowe

Under the Magnolias by T.I. Lowe (cover) Image: a young woman with long blond hair stands under the branches of a magnolia tree

Genre/Categories: Christian Fiction, Southern Fiction, Complicated Family Drama, Coming of Age, Side of Romance

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

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

In 1980 in Magnolia, South Carolina, a young teenager, Austin Foster, finds herself caring for her six siblings (all named after cities) when her mother dies in childbirth. Austin’s father is a preacher and works a tobacco farm, but he suffers from mental illness and is unreliable in many ways. Austin tries her best to keep the family fed and clothed and still attend school for a time. She has members of the community she can turn to, but no one really knows the extent of her hardships. Austin is attracted to Vance, the handsome son of a wealthy family in the community, and he is there for her when the truth of her circumstances is revealed.

My Thoughts:

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Sparks Like Stars [Book Review]

June 2, 2021

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi (cover) Image: gold and white text on a black background)

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Afghanistan, Asian-American Literature

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Nadia Hashimi, the author of The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, tells the story of Sitara Zamani who lives a privileged life in Kabul Afghanistan in 1978. Sitara’s father works for the progressive president and the children from the two families play together. When Sitara is ten years old, the communists stage a coup and Sitara is the only survivor. She is smuggled out of the palace by a sympathetic guard and into the home of an American diplomat. Years later while working as a successful surgeon in America, Sitara (now known as Aryana) is confronted with her past which causes her to ask questions and awakens strong feelings of anger and revenge.

My Thoughts:

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The Downstairs Girl [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

March 25, 2021

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
#throwbackthursday

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (author) Image: a teenage Asian girl wearing a fancy hat in an 1890 style

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Asian-American, Prejudice, Racism, Coming of Age

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, though, I look forward to re-sharing a recent review of an important story with thoughtful themes, The Downstairs Girl. Even though I reviewed this only a month ago, I am eager to bring this review to your attention again as the U.S is faced with hate and violent attacks toward Asians. The Downstairs Girl exposes the racism that was also prevalent in the 1890s South and is a timely read for our troubled times.

#StandUpForAAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders)

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 Downstairs Girl is set in 1890s Atlanta where a Chinese-American girl having no voice challenges racial and gender issues. Let go from her job at a milliner’s shop because she was a “saucebox,” seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan now works as a lady’s maid for the cruel and spoiled daughter of a wealthy man. Jo and Old Gin (affectionately thought of as “grandfather”) have always lived secretly in the basement below a newspaper man’s family. Jo loves WORDS and writing and so one day, Jo has the idea to write a column for the newspaper in order to help the family living above her build their readership and compete with the other newspaper in town. At night, she writes the column and drops her submissions in their mailbox. Her column, Dear Miss Sweetie, becomes popular for its modern and controversial opinions and the talk of the town. Meanwhile in her day life, Jo struggles to survive her ordeals as a lady’s maid and also plans a dangerous investigation to find her biological father who had abandoned her as a baby.”

Jo endures poverty, racism, and prejudice…and finds her voice…

Continue here for my full review of The Downstairs Girl ….

“Find me on Twinkl’s Library Lover’s Campaign, to take part, visit their Library Lover’s Day 2021 blog



QOTD:

Have you read The Downstairs Girl or is it on your TBR?

Surviving Savannah [Book Review]

March 5, 2021

Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan

Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan (cover) Image: a young woman from the 1800s stands at a railing with her back to the camera overlooking a harbor

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction, Shipwreck

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary e arc of #SurvivingSavannah upon my request. Pub Date: 3/9/2021 All opinions are my own.

In 1838, a luxury steamship called the Pulaski (Titanic of the South) on route from Savannah to Baltimore sank off the coast of North Carolina as a result of a boiler explosion. One hundred eighty years later the remains are found and Everly Winthrop, a history professor, is given the task of curating the museum collection of artifacts. This compelling story of “surviving the surviving” is told in dual timelines from multiple perspectives. In 1838, the story follows Lily and Augusta (and their large family) as they board the ship and struggle to survive the blast. In the present day, Everly is especially fascinated by this family of eleven that was on board. As she pieces together the story of the survivors, Everly is also suffering from PTSD from her own heartbreaking story of loss and figuring out how she will “survive the surviving.”

a black and white drawing of the doomed Pulaski

Image Source: Wikipedia

My Thoughts:

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The Downstairs Girl [Book Review]

February 19, 2021

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (author) Image: a teenage Asian girl wearing a fancy hat in an 1890 style

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Asian-American, Prejudice, Racism, Coming of Age

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

The Downstairs Girl is set in 1890s Atlanta where a Chinese-American girl having no voice challenges racial and gender issues. Let go from her job at a milliner’s shop because she was a “saucebox,” seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan now works as a lady’s maid for the cruel and spoiled daughter of a wealthy man. Jo and Old Gin (affectionately thought of as “grandfather”) have always lived secretly in the basement below a newspaper man’s family. Jo loves WORDS and writing and so one day, Jo has the idea to write a column for the newspaper in order to help them build their readership and compete with the other newspaper in town. At night, she writes the column and drops her submissions in their mailbox. Her column, Dear Miss Sweetie, becomes popular for its modern and controversial opinions and the talk of the town. Meanwhile in her day life, Jo struggles to survive her ordeals as a lady’s maid and also plans a dangerous investigation to find her biological father who had abandoned her as a baby.

My Thoughts:

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The Invisible Woman [Book Review]

February 9, 2021

The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck

The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck (cover) Image: a woman walks with her back to the camera across an empty field with shadows of airplanes on the ground

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, Resistance Movement

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Thank you, #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for my complimentary e ARC of #TheInvisibleWoman upon my request. All opinions are my own.

The Invisible Woman is based on the true story of Virginia Hall who trades in a safe life to work as an Allied Spy with the Resistance Movement in France during World War 11. Her first operation ended in betrayal, so now she’s more determined than ever to prove herself, to protect the people she recruits, and to help the Resistance prepare for D-Day. Despite her painful foot prosthetic (nicknamed Cuthbert) and episodes of PTSD, Virginia is determined, brave, cunning, and committed.

Virginia Hall wireless operator in WW11

Virginia Hall as a wireless operator in WW11.

Virginia Hall receives the Distintuised Service Cross in 1945

Virginia Hall receives the Distinguished Service Cross in 1945.

My Thoughts:

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The Girl From the Channel Islands [Book Review] #BlogTour #Harlequinn

February 2, 2021

The Girl From the Channel Islands by Jenny Lecoat #BlogTour

The Girl From the Channel Islands by Jenny Lecoat (cover) Image: a woman stands in an open field beside a bicycle overlooking a small village and airplanes in the sky

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, Jewish, Channel Islands

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour for Jenny Lecoat’s the Girl From the Channel Islands. Thank you for the invitation Justine Sha!

a collage of four books on the historical fiction blog tour

Thank you #Netgalley #Harlequinn for my complimentarary e arc of #TheGirlFromTheChannelIslands upon my request. All opinions are my own.

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

In June of 1940, Hitler’s army takes possession of the Channel Islands. Cut off from all help, the residents grow increasingly desperate. Hedy, a young Jewish girl from Vienna, is trapped on Jersey with no escape. In desperation, Hedy begins to work for the Germans as a translator, and she meets a sympathetic German officer (although he doesn’t know her whole truth). As Hedy’s life is in more danger every day, she decides on a dangerous course of action in an attempt to save herself from deportation to a concentration camp.

map of the Channel Islands

My Thoughts:

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The Librarian of Auschwitz [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

October 22, 2020

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

#throwbackthursday

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe (cover) Image: a young girl stands on top of a giant stack of books

Genre/Categories: YA Historical Fiction, Fictionalized Biography, Jewish, WW11, Holocaust

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 Librarian of Auschwitz, brave…inspirational…courageous…feisty…determined….daring…

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary of The Librarian of Auschwitz

“During the darkest hours of the Holocaust in an Auschwitz concentration camp, a young girl, Dita Kraus, risks her life to keep the magic of books alive. Imprisoned along with her mother and father, Dita finds meaning and purpose as the Librarian of a secret library within a secret school in the “family camp” section of Auschwitz, caring for eight precious volumes that have been smuggled in past the guards.

Be sure to read the author’s Afterward as he speaks of his interview with the real Dita Kraus about her incredible life, courage, and survival.”

 Continue here for my review of The Librarian of Auschwitz

QOTD: Have you read The Librarian of Auschwitz or is it on your TBR?

Convenience Store Woman [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

October 15, 2020

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

#throwbackthursday

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (cover) Image: white text on blue background....below it is a small plate with a traditional Japanese snack lying on a pink and white cloth napkin

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Japanese Culture, Conformity, Short Fiction, Book in Translation

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 Convenience Store Woman, the story of self aware and determined Keiko who is torn between self fulfillment and cultural conformity

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary of Convenience Store Woman

“Keiko Furukura grows up labeled a “strange child,” and her parents worry about her ability to function in the real world and about her future success.  While at university, Keiko begins a job at a local convenience store. After eighteen years, her parents and friends worry that she doesn’t have a real career and has never had a boyfriend. Even though Keiko is successful as a convenience store worker and enjoys her job, she feels the pressure to live up to her parents’ cultural expectations. What will she do?”

Quirky character…Japanese culture…finding your niche……conformity…

 Continue here for my review of Convenience Store Woman

QOTD: Have you read Convenience Store Woman or is it on your TBR?

From Sand and Ash [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

September 3, 2020

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
#throwbackthursday

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon (cover) Image: a young woman in profile looking reflectively over a city

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, Jewish, Catholic, Love Story

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 From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon, a thoughtful story of love, survival, life, death, faith, and sacrifice…

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

…faith, sacrifice, and survival…

My Summary:

“In 1943, Italy’s Jewish population is in imminent danger from the forces of hatred and prejudice. Raised like brother and sister, Eva and Angelo enjoy childhood best friend closeness which later blooms into a romance. Although they are devoted to each other, Eva, an accomplished violinist, is Jewish and Angelo chooses to follow a calling to become a Catholic priest. As the Gestapo arrests Jewish residents of Florence, Angelo convinces Eva to follow him to Rome to hide in a convent under his watchful eye while he serves nearby at the Vatican. Eva discovers that the Catholic Church is hiding hundreds of Jews and facilitating their escape when possible. Angelo has made a promise to Eva’s family and feels a duty to keep her safe, which is complicated by romantic feelings. This page turning story follows Eva and Angelo as they face trials, take risks, and make agonizing choices.”

Continue here for my review of From Sand and Ash

QOTD: Have you read From Sand and Ash or is it on your TBR?