Bookish Themed Hanukkah: Sixth Candle: The Extra Sense #eightcandlebooktag

December 27, 2019

 Celebrating a Bookish Hanukkah With Our Jewish Friends: Sixth Candle–The Extra Sense

#eightcandlebooktag

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I’m linking up today with Davida at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog (information on the meme link up here) to celebrate a bookish Hanukkah with our Jewish friends.  #eightcandlebooktag  Join us! (find my first candle here, find my second candle here, third candle here, fourth here, fifth here)

Happy Hanukkah to my friends, followers, and book buddies who are celebrating!

8th-candle

 

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Sixth Candle: The Extra Sense

A book that scared you, worried you, or that was edgy or spooky in some way (doesn’t have to be a paranormal book).

Well…you’ll notice a dearth of reviews for scary, spooky thrillers on my blog! It doesn’t take too much to scare me or provoke a bad dream. Usually if something is scary, spooky, or too thrilling, it gets shelved without hesitation as a DNF. I think I’m classified as a HSP (highly sensitive person) in my reading life! So today’s prompt stumps me!

Since I haven’t read any really scary books, I finally considered other books that disturb me in some way and make me uncomfortable while reading. I read a great deal of WW11 histfic, so some of the concentration camp passages are highly disturbing. A couple of examples of some of the most difficult “concentration camp” passages I’ve read include books like The Lilac Girls, Between Shades of Gray, and The Nightingale. Often, books that describe the unfortunate plight of innocent children are quite difficult to read. Examples include Before We Were Yours and Orphan Train.

However, for this prompt I decided to go another direction with a book that is uncomfortable or disturbing to read and that is Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. I found that the chapters that focused on Turk and his racism and white supremacy especially difficult to read. I remember having feelings of dread every time his chapter came up, and wishing I could skip them.

For today’s post, I’m choosing to highlight Small Great Things

  small great things

The following brief overview has been published previously on this blog:

Amazon Summary:

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

My Thoughts:

This is an important and memorable read; however, it was difficult for me to rate. First, I would award it 4 stars for being a page turner and for the focus on an important issue. At the same time, I would rate it 3 stars for the author’s overly pedantic tone (for my preference), one-sided political insults, and the too convenient plot twists at the end. Overall, that would average out to a 3.5 star rating. On Goodreads, I rounded that up to 4 stars. This rating comes with a word of caution that the author was heavy handed in her message and her political comments….it seems that most of her fans might already be aware that her stories are sometimes controversial because of their polarizing themes.

I’m conflicted as I write this because it’s an important issue and message, but at times it felt like a lecture and a political attack. In the end, I admire her bravery at tackling this important and sensitive issue. The chapters involving Turk, the white supremacist, were especially difficult to read because they were filled with hate.

Without hesitation, though, I recommend this book for readers who enjoy controversial and current topics, for nurses and legal professionals, and for those readers who want to form their own opinions on trending new releases and relevant topics. Small Great Things would make a terrific selection for a book club discussion. Plus, if you’re a huge Jodi Picoult fan you might not want to miss this story with its ambitious themes.

My Rating: 4 stars

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small great things

Small Great Things Information

Meet the Author, Jodi Picoult

Jodi PicoultJodi Picoult is the author of twenty-two novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers “The Storyteller,” “Lone Wolf,” “Between the Lines,” “Sing You Home,” “House Rules,” “Handle with Care,” “Change of Heart,” “Nineteen Minutes,” and “My Sister’s Keeper.” She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. Read more at http://www.jodipicoult.com/



QOTD!

Have you read Small Great Things or is it on your TBR?

Are you a Jodi Picoult fan?



ICYMI

I have finished my Fall TBR!
(just in time to begin my Winter TBR!)

Winter 2019 TBR

My Nonfiction November Posts:
2019 Nonfiction Reads
Nonfiction and Racial Injustice
Nonfiction/Fiction Pairings
Favorite Nonfiction Books
2020 Nonfiction TBR
Finding Chika by Mitch Albom



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.

Bookish Themed Hanukkah: First Candle: All Alone #eightcandlebooktag

December 22, 2019

 Celebrating a Bookish Hanukkah With Our Jewish Friends: First Candle–All Alone

#eightcandlebooktag

 

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I’m linking up today and for the next seven days with The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog (information on the meme link up here) to celebrate a bookish Hanukkah with our Jewish friends.  #eightcandlebooktag  Join us!

Happy Hanukkah to my friends, followers, and book buddies who are celebrating!

8th-candle

 

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First Candle: All Alone

A book you love, but one that no one else seems to know anything about.

One book that comes to mind for today’s topic is The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe. Have you heard of it? I loved it when I read it, but I don’t know anyone else who has read it. Let me know in the comments!

The Gilded Years

Summary:

The Gilded Years shares the important and compelling experiences of Anita Hemmings and her dream of attending an exclusive school for women, Vassar College, in the late 1890s. To accomplish this extraordinary feat and pursue her chance for a better life, Anita must pass for white. It is interesting to me how her family and community support her in the implementation of her decision and work to protect her as she lives it out. At first, Anita maintains a distance from her college peers. However, as the years pass and Anita becomes friends with her socialite roommate from a prominent family in New York, the risk of discovery grows greater. Can she maintain her assumed identify? Will she graduate?

The choice:

For me, the most interesting part of The Gilded Years is the tension that develops between Anita and one of her dear friends who decides to live fully as an African-American, embrace her ethnic identity and heritage, and openly fight for equal rights. Which one of the young women chose the best path? Both decisions are difficult in their own ways and filled with sacrifices and joys. Through their two stories, the reader is presented with two viewpoints and experiences. What would you or I have done given that choice? Which choice helped further equal treatment for African-Americans? Was Anita’s choice a set back for African Americans? Or did she have every right to think of her own life first? Did her success as a student help the African-American cause by proving that an African-American can compete equally at Vassar?

Bottom Line:

Although The Gilded Years is compelling and emotional, the writing could be stronger. For me, a captivating story that addresses strong themes of hope, sacrifice, betrayal, loyalty, family, taking risks, life choices, and friendship makes for a memorable, important, and inspiring read. It would generate an excellent book club discussion and make a great movie!

Recommended?

I highly recommend The Gilded Years for readers looking for an inspirational and interesting read in anticipation of February’s African-American History Month, for readers who enjoy compelling stories about strong, brave, independent women, for book clubs, and for readers who enjoy diverse reads and stories written from a different perspective.

Amazon Rating (December): 4.2 Stars

My Rating: 4 stars

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The Gilded Years

The Gilded Years Information

Meet the Author, Karin Tanabe

Karen TanabeKarin Tanabe is a fiction writer and former Politico reporter whose writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, and The Washington Post among many other publications. Before turning to fiction, Karin worked as a journalist covering politics and celebrities. She has made frequent appearances on Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition and CNN. A graduate of Vassar College, she lives in Washington D.C.



QOTD!

Have you heard of this book?

Have you read The Gilded Years



ICYMI

I have finished my Fall TBR!
(just in time to begin my Winter TBR!)

Winter 2019 TBR

My Nonfiction November Posts:
2019 Nonfiction Reads
Nonfiction and Racial Injustice
Nonfiction/Fiction Pairings
Favorite Nonfiction Books
2020 Nonfiction TBR
Finding Chika by Mitch Albom



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.

The Girl With Seven Names: A Review

December 20, 2019

 The Girl With Seven Names: Escape From North Korea by Hyeonseo Lee

the girl with seven names review.jpg

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Defection, Political Freedom, North Korea

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

A compelling story of escape…determination…survival…family…kindness…

In The Girl With Seven Names, Hyeonseo Lee shares her experience as a child growing up in a high-class family in North Korea. Her home bordered China and as she became a teenager, she grew more curious about life outside of North Korea. On an impulsive lark, she decides to cross the river and sneak into China to take a peek and to visit some distant relatives. Her plan to come right back to North Korea is derailed when she receives word that it is not safe to return. For the next few years, she lives as an illegal immigrant in China, working and quickly learning the language to survive. After twelve years, she risks everything to seek asylum in South Korea and to rescue her mother and brother from North Korea. To complete her dangerous mission, she receives help from a kind and generous stranger.

Amazon Rating: 4.8 Stars

My Thoughts:

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The Stationery Shop: A Review

November 22, 2019

 The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

The Stationery Shop Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Romantic Fiction, Romance, Family Life, Iran

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Complicated families…..soul mates…..resilience…..

Summary:

In 1953, two teenagers meet in Mr. Fakhri’s Stationary Shop in Tehran. Roya loves the fountain pens, shiny ink bottles, and the thick, lovely writing paper while Bahman loves Rumi’s poetry and is an activist. They share a love of poetry and continue to meet in the Stationery Shop while their romance grows. Their happy life together is complicated by family tension and political unrest.

My Thoughts:

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With the Fire on High: A Review

September 17, 2019

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

With the Fire on High Review.png

Genre/Categories: Contemporary YA Fiction, Cooking, Multi-Generational Family, Coming of Age

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Emoni Santiago is a responsible, creative, and determined teenage mother. In addition to caring for her young daughter, living with and helping to support her grandmother, and navigating her classes as a high school senior, Emoni is well known for her extraordinary cooking skills. For her, cooking is an artistic adventure. A new culinary arts class is offered at her school along with a class trip to Spain. Given all her responsibilities and financial situation, can she possibly risk everything to follow her dreams?

Amazon Rating: 4.8 Stars

My Thoughts:

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The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters: A Review

June 19, 2019

Can three very different sisters living three vastly different lives come together to honor their mother’s last dying wish of traveling to India and scattering her ashes?

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Unlikely Adventures of Shergill Sisters Review

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, India

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

To honor their mother’s dying wish, three Punjabi sisters travel to India on a pilgrimage to visit sacred places that are special to Mom and to scatter her ashes. Told from the three perspectives of three very different sisters, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters explores sibling relationships, modern vs traditional roles of women, secrets, and the importance of family.

My Thoughts:

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Miracle Creek: A Review

July 12, 2019

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Miracle Creek Review

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Murder Mystery, Crime Fiction, Courtroom Drama, Korean American

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Miracle Creek takes place in a small town in Virginia of the same name. In this town, there is a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions. As the story begins, the chamber explodes and two people die. Is this an accident or sabotage or insurance fraud? Through multiple perspectives, we become acquainted with the owners and surviving patients and learn about their secrets, their anguish, their frustrations, their best intentions, their misconceptions, and their rivalries. The story is rich in vivid details about the trial, parenting a special needs child, and the immigrant experience.

My Thoughts:

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1st Line/1st Paragraph: Searching For Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

 June 25, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph: Searching For Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

I’m linking up this week with Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach who hosts a meme every Tuesday to share the First Chapter/First Paragraph of the book you are currently reading.

First Paragraph

I’m pleased to share the first line and first paragraph of Searching For Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok. If you appreciate family dynamics, diverse reads, and mystery, this may be a good read for you.

From Amazon:  A poignant and suspenseful drama that untangles the complicated ties binding three women—two sisters and their mother—in one Chinese immigrant family and explores what happens when the eldest daughter disappears. A deeply moving story of family, secrets, identity, and longing, Searching for Sylvie Lee is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of an immigrant family. It is a profound exploration of the many ways culture and language can divide us and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone—especially those we love.

Searching For Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

Searching For Sylvie Lee

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Asian American, Family Life, Mystery

1st Line/1st (2) Paragraphs:

I am standing by the window of our small apartment in Queens, watching as Ma and Pa leave for their jobs. Half-hidden by the worn curtains Ma sewed herself, I see them walk side by side to the subway station down the street. At the entrance, they pause and look at each other for a moment. Here, I always hold my breath, waiting for Pa to touch Ma’s cheek, or for Ma to burst into tears, or for either of them to give some small sign of the truth of their relationship. Instead, Ma raises her hand in an awkward wave, the drape of her black shawl exposing her slender forearm, and Pa shuffles into the open mouth of the station as the morning traffic roars down our busy street. Then Ma ducks her head and continues her walk to the local dry cleaners where she works.

I sigh and step away from the window. I should be doing something more productive. Why am I still spying on my parents? Because I’m an adult living at home and have nothing better to do. If I don’t watch out, I’m going to turn into Ma. Timid, dutiful, toiling at a job that pays nothing. And yet, I’ve caught glimpses of another Ma and Pa over the years. The passion that flickers over her face as she reads Chinese romane novels in the night, the ones Pa scorns. The way Pa reaches for her elbow when he walks behind her, catches himself, and pulls back his hand. I pass by my closet of a bedroom, and the poster that hangs on the wall catches my eye–barely visible behind the teetering piles of papers and laundry. It’s a quote I’ve always loved from Willa Cather: “The heart of another is a dark forest, always, no matter how close it has been to one’s own.” I’m not sure I believe the sentiment but her words never fail to unsettle me.

Searching For Sylvie Lee finally reached the top of my library hold list. Not only is it on my 2019 Summer TBR, but Jenna (from The Today Show Book Club) selected it for the June read. Here’s a clip of Jenna and author Jean Kwok.

So far I’ve read five chapters and can report that it’s easy reading and quietly engaging as everyone begins to realize that Sylvie is missing. Have you read Searching For Sylvie Lee?



QOTD:

Do you enjoy reading hyped books or do you avoid them until the buzz dies down?

Most of the time I want to read them (so I can offer you reviews of recent releases), but there have been times when I ignore the buzz and later find out that the buzz was short lived and I decide to pass on it…..or as time passes, more honest reviews are published and I decide it’s not for me after all.



 Looking Ahead:

Friday, I’m publishing my list of favorite books so far this year.

Coming soon! A special collaboration post with twelve other bloggers as we each give our recommendation for ONE great summer book!

One Great Summer Read



Sharing is Caring

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.

 

 

1st Line/1st Paragraph: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

June 25, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

I’m linking up this week with Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach who hosts a meme every Tuesday to share the First Chapter/First Paragraph of the book you are currently reading.

First Paragraph

I’m pleased to share the first line and first paragraph of Miracle Creek by Angie Kim. If you appreciate family dynamics and courtroom drama, this may be a good read for you.

From Amazon:  How far will we go to protect our families―and our deepest secrets? Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek is a thoroughly contemporary take on the courtroom drama, drawing on the author’s own life as a Korean immigrant, former trial lawyer, and mother of a real-life “submarine” patient. Both a compelling page-turner and an excavation of identity and the desire for connection, Miracle Creek is a brilliant, empathetic debut from an exciting new voice.

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

Miracle Creek

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Courtroom Drama, Family Dynamics

1st Line/1st Paragraph:

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first. It was such a small thing, what he wanted. The police had just released the protesters, and while he stepped out to make sure they weren’t coming back, I was to sit in his chair. Cover for him, the way coworkers do as a matter of course, the way we ourselved used to at the gracery store, while I ate or he smoked. But as I took his seat, I bumped against the desk, and the certificate above it went slightly crooked as if to remind me that this wasn’t a regular business, that there was a reason he’d never left me in charge before.

My library hold on Miracle Creek just came in, and it’s timely because it’s on my 2019 Summer TBR.  Although this is not my usual genre, I’m looking forward to the read because I see it frequently promoted and reviewed and FOMO is real. So far, I’ve read the first chapter and the story is engaging from page one. Have you read it?



QOTD:

Do you enjoy reading hyped books or do you avoid them until the buzz dies down?

Most of the time I want to read them (so I can offer you reviews of recent releases), but there have been times when I ignore the buzz and later find out that the buzz was short lived and I decide to pass on it…..or as time passes, more honest reviews are published and I decide it’s not for me after all.



 Looking Ahead:

Friday, I’m publishing my review for Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini.

Resistance Women

Sunday, I’ll publish my June Wrap Up and I’m also working on a post which will highlight my favorite reads for the first half of 2019.

Coming soon! A special collaboration post with twelve other bloggers as we each give our recommendation for ONE great summer book!

One Great Summer Read



Sharing is Caring

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.

 

 

On The Come Up: A Review

June 6, 2019

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up Review

Genre/Categories: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Homelessness, Poverty, Family Life, YA Music, Racism

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

The daughter of a Garden Heights rap legend, sixteen-year-old Bri’s greatest desires include making it as a rapper, making enough money to take care of her mom and siblings, and moving out of the neighborhood. Bri is distracted at school by her rapping goals and neighborhood performances. At home, her mom has lost her job and the family is facing unpaid bills, shut off notices, an empty refrigerator, and the threat of homelessness. Suddenly, Bri not only wants to make it as a rapper, now she has to make it. Bri makes some impulsive decisions as she fights to make her dreams a reality. This is a story about fighting for your dreams against the odds as it portrays the realities of poor and working-class black families. Author Angie Thomas has experience in the art of rapping and her authentic voice fills all the spaces in this realistic story with vivid details of the Garden Heights community and its memorable characters. Although the story takes place in the same community and makes a reference to the shooting at the center of The Hate You Give, this is not a sequel to THUG and can be read as a stand-alone. Each book is a unique reading experience.

My Thoughts:

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