The Good Sister [Book Review]

July 23, 2021

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

The Good Sister by Sallhy Hepworth (cover) Image: a girl looks out the window of a house at red roses growing in the garden

Genre/Categories: Psychological, Domestic Thriller/Suspense, Siblings

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Twin sisters + one unreliable narrator + good storytelling.

Fern avoids crowds, bright lights, and loud noises. She has a strict schedule and routine, and she’s a popular librarian who cares for the patrons. Rose watches out for her sister, is protective, and a bit controlling. She’s trying desperately to get pregnant. Fern thinks she has a solution for Rose but this plan shakes up both of their lives. Who is the good sister?

My Thoughts:

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Miracle Creek [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

July 22, 2021

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
#throwbackthursday

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (cover) looking up at a night sky through several trees

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

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 a multilayered and character-driven crime fiction, Miracle Creek by Angie Kim.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My 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.”

An expertly written, character-driven, and multi-layered mystery and courtroom drama ….

Continue here for my full review of Miracle Creek



QOTD:

Have you read Miracle Creek or is it on your TBR?

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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The Island of Sea Women #ThrowBackThursday

June 24, 2021

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
#throwbackthursday

Island of Sea Women Review

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, South Korea, Women’s Roles

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 compelling and informative women’s historical fiction, The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“In The Island of Sea Women, See imagines the story of Mi-ja and Young-sook. As the story begins, we are introduced to these two young girls living on the Korean Island of Jeju. Although the girls are best friends, they come from very different backgrounds. As the girls mature, they begin working in the sea with other women in the village as part of the diving collective (the haenyo). Even though diving is dangerous, the girls are eager to be allowed to join the women of the sea as they learn the trade and follow in the tradition of the other women in the village who are the sole providers for their families. In this matriarchal culture, the men stay home, cook, and assume primary care for the children. Women take on the responsibility of providing an income from selling the bounty of their diving expeditions. It’s women who worry about the livelihood of their families and village, assume great physical risks, and take responsibility for knowing the best locations and times/conditions to dive. The sea women dive when they are pregnant and sometimes give birth on the boat as part of their workday if necessary. The story begins in the 1930s and continues through WW11, the Korean War, and the modern technology boom. Over the decades, circumstances put the girls’ friendship under great strain and the story encompasses their entire lives. It’s a story of a unique culture, friendship, understanding, community, and a dangerous and demanding profession.”

 A story of a unique culture, friendship, understanding, community, and a dangerous and demanding profession…

Continue here for my full review of The Island of Sea Women …



QOTD:

Have you read The Island of Sea Women or is it on your TBR?

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World #ThrowBackThursday

June 17, 2021

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman
#throwbackthursday

Genre/Categories: Non-Fiction, Essays, Humor, Parent/Child

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 a poignant and reflective essay collection, Things My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman. This might make an interesting Father’s Day gift (U.S. Father’s Day this weekend).

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World is a collection of humorous and poignant essays Fredrik Backman wrote to teach his son about life. Essays range from short and light (how to beat Monkey Island 3) to poignant and deep (why a dad might hold onto his son’s hand just a little too tight). Underlying it all are thoughtful themes including those of unconditional love, a desperate desire to not fail at fatherhood, falling in love, and friendship.”

Humorous, insightful, creative, and appropriately poignant…

Continue here for my full review of Things My Son Needs to Know About the World



QOTD:

Have you read Things My Son Needs to Know About the World or is it on your TBR?

Ask Again, Yes [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

June 10, 2021

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
#throwbackthursday

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane (cover) white text over the top view of a neighborhood of homes

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Complicated Family Drama, Friendship

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 a complicated family drama, Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“Beautifully written, Ask Again, Yes introduces us to two families who live next door to each other. Behind closed doors, the families deal with complicated issues. Meanwhile, two of their children, born six months apart, grow up as each other’s constant and best playmate and develop a deep friendship as they hang out after school. Just as Kate and Peter grow old enough to discover they might be attracted to each other, a tragic event happens that changes everything for the two families. One family moves away and the children’s friendship is torn apart.

The remainder of the story involves the children, who are now grown, coming to terms with what happened and figuring out what this means for their relationship, their families, and their future.”

Big themes of regret, forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, second chances, growth, and redemption…..

Continue here for my full review of Ask Again, Yes …

(including Content Warnings)



QOTD:

Have you read Ask Again, Yes or is it on your TBR?

Haven Point [Book Review]

June 3, 2021

Haven Point by Virginia Hume

Haven Point by Virginia Hume (cover) Image: a large home sits on a point of land overlooking the ocean

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction (1944 to present day), Multi-generational Family Drama, Family Life, Maine

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks to #NetGalley @StMartinsPress for a complimentary eARC and @Macmillanaudio for a listening copy of #HavenPoint upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Originally from Minnesota, Maren works as a cadet nurse at Walter Reed Medical Center. The story begins in 1944 as she meets a handsome doctor who sweeps her off her feet. Oliver is from a prominent family who has a summer residence in a small, exclusive community on the coast of Maine. As a newlywed, Maren feels insecure as she tries to fit in with the tight-knit crowd of Haven Point residents. But Haven Point becomes part of their summer life and their children grow up for part of the year in Haven Point. In 1970, their oldest daughter Anne falls for a young man who doesn’t meet with the approval of Maren and Oliver. A tragedy occurs. In the present day (2008), Anne’s daughter Skye has a close relationship with her grandmother, Maren. In the end, Maren shares the whole truth with Skye about what happened in the summer of 1970.

My Thoughts:

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Arsenic and Adobo [Book Review]

May 6, 2021

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia Manansala (cover) Image: a young women pours an ingredient into a put of food that is cooking on the stove

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Culinary Mystery, Filipino

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks to #Netgalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for my complimentary eARC of #ArsenicAndAdobo at my request. All opinions are my own.

Lila moves home to recover from a breakup and to help save the family restaurant. In addition, to serving up some delicious food and enduring the interference of three interfering and opinionated aunties, Lila’s ex boyfriend and food critic drops dead while eating one of Lila’s dessert creations at the family restaurant. Lila becomes a prime suspect and their landlord threatens to kick the family out. Out of desperation and with great determination, Lila sets out on her own investigation with the help of her best friend. For fans of romcom, there’s also a romantic triangle brewing. This is the first book in a cozy mystery series.

My Thoughts:

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Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow [Book Review]

May 5, 2021

Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessical Redland (cover) Image: a farm house sits on a grassy field surrounded by flowers

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Family Drama, Romance, Rural, Animal Rescue

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

secrets…animal rescue…romance… the power of forgiveness…

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

Number 3 in the series finds Samantha running her hedgehog rescue center and enjoying a committed relationship with handsome, wonderful, and supportive Josh. Their sprawling, charming farmhouse is full of love and laughter as Josh’s dad’s family now lives with them (for health reasons). Suddenly, their lives are complicated when Sam’s self-centered and ill-behaved cousin, Chloe, arrives at the farm with her baby and begs Sam to let her stay. Chloe is emotional and won’t speak to her husband or explain to him or anyone else what’s happening. Life-changing secrets from the past are about to be revealed.

My Thoughts:

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#6Degrees of Separation: From Beezus and Ramona to The Vanishing Half

May 1, 2021

#6Degrees of Separation: From Beezus and Ramona to The Vanishing Half

A collage of book covers discussed in the post

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Sisters!

#6Degrees of Separation: from Beezus and Ramona to The Vanishing Half.

#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 Davida’s posts 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 hashtag.
  • Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.

Play Along?

This month’s prompt starts with Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary, and I’m thrilled because it allows me to revisit some titles that feature…

“Sisters”

If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know how I absolutely adore a heartfelt Middle Grade read! I love Beezus and Ramona and generally love a book that features sisters, so this chain of books about sisters is going to be fun! I’m beginning the chain with two children’s reads (great literature can be enjoyed by all ages, amirite?) and ending with four adult reads.

Ramona and Beezus by Beverly Cleary (cover) Image: an older girl stands and looks at a younger girl who is wearing rabbit earsAmazon Summary:
(In honor of the recent passing of beloved author Beverly Cleary, this chain is starting with one of her most popular books, Beezus and Ramona. Have you or your children read it?)

“Having a little sister like four-year-old Ramona isn’t always easy for Beezus Quimby. With a wild imagination, disregard for order, and an appetite for chaos, Ramona makes it hard for Beezus to be the responsible older sister she knows she ought to be…especially when Ramona threatens to ruin Beezus’s birthday party. Will Beezus find the patience to handle her little sister before Ramona turns her big day into a complete disaster?”

 

FIRST DEGREE. From Beezus and Ramona, my first story of sisters must be another classic, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Who can forget the time Amy burned Jo’s manuscript?!

Amazon Summary: “Little Women was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. It follows the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy— from childhood to womanhood and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters. Although Little Women was a novel for girls, it differed notably from the current writings for children, especially girls. The book was an immediate commercial and critical success and has since been adapted for cinema, TV, Broadway and even the opera.”

 

 

More to the Story by Hena Khan (cover) four girls lying on their backs forming a circle on the floor with their heads nearly touchingSECOND DEGREE: Did you know there’s a delightful (MG) Little Women retelling from the point of view of a Pakistani-American family? More to the Story by Hena Khan.

Amazon Summary: “When Jameela Mirza is picked to be feature editor of her middle school newspaper, she’s one step closer to being an award-winning journalist like her late grandfather. The problem is her editor-in-chief keeps shooting down her article ideas. Jameela’s assigned to write about the new boy in school, who has a cool British accent but doesn’t share much, and wonders how she’ll make his story gripping enough to enter into a national media contest.

Jameela, along with her three sisters, is devastated when their father needs to take a job overseas, away from their cozy Georgia home for six months. Missing him makes Jameela determined to write an epic article—one to make her dad extra proud. But when her younger sister gets seriously ill, Jameela’s world turns upside down. And as her hunger for fame looks like it might cost her a blossoming friendship, Jameela questions what matters most, and whether she’s cut out to be a journalist at all…”

My Goodreads review of More to the Story

 

Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly (cover) Image: a young woman in a long blue dress and bonnet walks down a country road with a handful of large sunflowersTHIRD DEGREE: Moving from children’s literature, the next book in the chain is a story about two sets of sisters, Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly.

My Summary: “Third in the “Flowers Trilogy” (as I affectionately think of them), Sunflower Sisters precedes Lilac Girls and Lost Roses in a historical timeline and altogether the three books involve three wars. First, Lilac Girls is set during WW11 and features heroine Caroline Ferriday; next, Lost Roses, a prequel to Lilac Girls, features Caroline’s mother, Eliza Ferriday, and is set in the pre-WW1 era; finally, Sunflower Sisters is the prequel to Lost Roses and is set during the Civil War. All the stories in the trilogy can be read as stand alones.

In Sunflower Sisters, Georgeanna Woolsey, a great aunt of Caroline Ferriday, is a Union nurse at a time when the medical field was dominated by men. She crosses paths with Jemma, a young girl who was enslaved, sold off, ran away, and was conscripted into the army. Jemma has a sister, Patience, who remains enslaved on the plantation next door. Sunflower Sisters describes Civil War experiences and plantation life, and it includes family drama.”

My review of Sunflower Sisters

 

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman (cover)FOURTH DEGREE: Connecting to the strong theme of sisters (and friends as close as sisters) is The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman.

My Summary: “In the early days of WW11, two estranged sisters are reunited at the Springfield, Massachusetts Armory. Ruth is the older sister and an officer’s wife and the younger sister Millie is a single mom who, in desperation, seeks refuge in her sister’s home and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” This living arrangement isn’t ideal, but the younger sister has no other family after the death of their parents and the disappearance of her abusive husband. The relationship between the sisters is tense and filled with resentment, jealousy, misunderstanding, competition, and secrets.”

My review of Wartime Sisters

 

FIFTH DEGREE: Let’s continue the theme of sisters with The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray.

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.”

My review of The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

 

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (cover)SIXTH DEGREE: The final link in the chain is one final story of sisters, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

My Summary: “The Vignes sisters are twins. They are light-skinned black girls, identical, and inseparable. They endure a childhood trauma, are forced to leave high school early and go to work, and eventually leave home (run away) together at sixteen. From that point, everything changes. The future finds them estranged. Desiree escapes an abusive marriage and returns to her small southern hometown to live with her mom and her dark child. This is difficult because the town celebrates light-skinned blacks and Desiree’s dark-skinned daughter, Jude, faces racism within the black community. Stella decides to pass as white which means that she completely cuts ties with her past and her family. The Vanishing Half begins in the 1950s and concludes in the 1990s with the next generation (Desiree’s and Stella’s daughters).”

My review of The Vanishing Half


I hope you enjoyed this #6Degrees of Separation chain from Beezus and Ramona to The Vanishing Half!

The most striking thread that connects the stories in this chain is sisters. I have read all these books and can recommend them all!

I need to note that these are the first six books I thought to connect. Many stories are out there that could also fit this chain. Can you think of another title that features sisters?



ICYMI:

January #6Degrees of Separation post here.
February #6Degrees of Separation post here.

If you have a May #6Degrees of Separation post, please leave a link in the comments!



QOTD!

Do you have ideas for creating your own chain?
What book would you add to this chain?
Have you read one of these stories?



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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