The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle [Book Review]

May 30, 2022

The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan

The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan (cover) Image: three women sit sewing on a wedding dress

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, “UpLit,” Women’s Fiction, WW11, English Village, Friendship

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley #BallentineBooks @RandomHouse for a complimentary eARC of #TheWeddingDressSewingCircle by Jennifer Ryan upon my request. All opinions are my own.

“Make Do and Mend”

In The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle, women come together during the WW11 years to mend, repurpose, and recycle clothing. Led by three spirited women, the sewing circle project to repair a wedding gown grows into mending wedding gowns for local brides and for brides across the country.

“The Wedding Dress Exchange is our way to show that we might be losing our homes, our families, and our normal way of life, but there are some traditions that live on in spite of the Nazis–that romance and hope and love can flourish, no matter what our ememies do. It is a reminder that the most important parts of us…our hearts–will always be free.”

My Thoughts:

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Tweet Cute [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 21, 2022

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
#throwbackthursday

Tween Cute by Emma Lord (cover) Image: two apartment buildings with a teen in each using social media on their phones

 

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Young Adult Fiction, Family Life, YA RomCom, Coming of Age, New York City

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 sweet YA romcom, Tweet Cute by Emma Lord. (It’s my fav of her three books.)

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

grilled cheese sandwichThe setting is New York City. Pepper (Patricia) is the swim team captain at her private school, achievement-focused, and a perfectionist. Her family owns a large fast-food burger chain, and Pepper runs the twitter account. Jack is a classmate and fellow swim team member. He secretly develops apps, enjoys being a class clown, and experiences episodes of sibling rivalry with his twin brother. Jack’s family owns a small downtown deli. A few things happen to put the story in motion: the big burger chain copies (steals) Jack’s family’s grilled cheese sandwich, a twitter war ensues that Jack and Pepper instigate and fuel, and Jack and Pepper find themselves becoming close friends on the school’s app where identities remain anonymous.

You’ve Got Mail meets Tell Me Three Things meets With the Fire on High….

Continue here for my full review of Tweet Cute..



QOTD:

Have you read Tweet Cute or is it on your TBR?

 

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?

 

This Won’t End Well [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

February 10, 2022

This Won’t End Well by Camille Pagán
#throwbackthursday

This Won't End Well (cover) .... a young woman peeking through some bushes

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction

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 fun romcom, This Won’t End Well by Camille Pagán.

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 long tradition of other beloved, quirky characters, Annie Mercer feels best when she limits her interactions with new people. As a scientist, she analyzes her life experiences through the lens of science. Suddenly her organized life is turned upside down: she loses her job, curiosity about a new neighbor consumes her, her fiance takes a leave of absence, and a personable and charismatic private investigator surprises her. Ultimately Annie is faced with some big, life-changing decisions.”

…Quirky + Snappy + Epistolary = a fun read! 

Continue here for my full review of This Won’t End Well…



QOTD:

Have you read This Won’t End Well or is it on your TBR?

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?

 

The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady [Book Review] #BlogTour

October 4, 2021

The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady by Sharon J. Mondragón

The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady by Sharon Mondragon (cover) a ball of yarn and two silver knitting needles

Genre/Categories: Christian Comtemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Friendship, Prayer, Ministry

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Out of your comfort zone and into the mall!

Thanks #NetGalley @KregelBooks and the I Read With Audra Blog Tour for a complimentary eARC of #TheUnlikelyYarnOfTheDragonLady upon my request. All opinions are my own.

The Heavenly Hugs Prayer Shawl Ministry consists of four women (Controlling Margaret, Positive Rose, Hurting Jane, and Lonely Fran) who meet weekly in the lovely and quiet Prayer Chapel of their church to knit shawls for the prayer shawls ministry. When the pastor announces that the prayer chapel is being painted and they will need to find another place to sit and knit, he suggests they knit out in public somewhere like the local mall. Grumpy and difficult-to-love Margaret vehemently resists the idea of knitting in the mall with all its distractions. However, the others are open to the idea. After they get kicked out of the bookstore cafe (for never ordering anything), they find a satisfactory place to knit using the comfortable seating display in front of Macy’s department store. And, yes, there are distractions and encounters with the people they meet taking them out of their comfort zones in many ways.

My Thoughts:

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The Dearly Beloved [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

September 16, 2021

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall
#throwbackthursday

Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall (cover) Image: white text over the graphic image of a tree with long reaching limbs....all against a blue background

Genre/Categories/Setting: Literary Fiction, Marriage, Friendship, Faith, 1960s Manhattan

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 compelling drama of marriage, friendship, and faith, The Dearly Beloved: A Review. My best read of the year in 2019.

Recently, I reviewed Gilead and explained why I think it is literary fiction; The Dearly Beloved is another example of literary 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:

“Four very different individuals (two couples) navigate relationships, marriage, children, faith, career, ministry, crisis, joy, friendship, forgiveness, uncertainty, understanding, and heartbreak. The couples meet in the 1960s when the men, Charles and James, accept positions as co-pastors of the Third Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. The relationship between the couples is strained because the wives are polar opposites: Lily is a loner and an atheist and Nan values connection and is a devout Christian. In this tender character-driven story that covers decades of life, we also learn the backstory of each individual.”

One Favorite quote: “While she was away, they had been able to forget the accident. When she returned, they had been forced to pick up their rakes of grief and drag them along the ground.”

A thoughtful story of faith and doubt, hope and disappointment, friendship and marriage, career and family….

Continue here for 10 reasons why I loved The Dearly Beloved…



QOTD:

Have you read The Dearly Beloved or is it on your TBR?

Other Words For Home [Book Review]

September 10, 2021

Other Words For Home by Jasmine Warga

Other Words For Home by Jasmine Warga (cover) Image: the profile of a young Syrian girl in a head scarf

Genre/Categories/Setting: Middle Grade+, Contemporary Fiction, Syria (and U.S.), Refugee, Coming of Age, Novel in Free Verse, Diverse Reads

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Because of instability in Syria, Jude and her mother leave her father and older brother to live with relatives in America (Cincinnati). Even though Jude has learned some English, she is unprepared for life in an American family, starting school in the U.S,. and her new label as “Middle Eastern.” Jude makes the best of some difficult situations and is suprised to make a new friend. Ultimately, she summons all her bravery and tries out for the school musical.

My Thoughts:

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Yours Cheerfully [Book Review]

August 10, 2021

Yours Cheerfully by A J Pearce

Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce (cover) Image: 2 women sit on a bench reading a newspaper with a London cityscape in the background

Genre/Categories/Settings: Historical Fiction, WW11, Women’s Fiction, London

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

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

In this follow up to Dear Mrs. Bird, Emmeline Lake continues her journalism career as an advice columnist for Woman’s Friend magazine. Emmy’s best friend, Bunty, is reovering from her injuries and the loss of her fiance, and Emmy’s boyfriend is now stationed back in the U.K. The focus and intensity of this story changes as the Ministry of Information asks women’s magazines to help recruit female workers to the war effort. Emmy is thrilled to do her part, but then she is confronted with the very real challenges that women war workers face and takes a stand to support her new friends.

My Thoughts:

Even though Yours Cheerfully can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading Dear Mrs. Bird first for a richer reading experience. Dear Mrs Bird centers around the London Blitz and its affect on Londoners (bombings are a part of the story) and follows Emmy as she begins her journalism career, Yours Cheerfully focuses on the war effort from the perspective of women left behind and on Emmy’s activism. Yours Cheerfully is very much a “day in the life” type of story.

Do you ever create categories in your mind just for your own benefit? Just me?! In my own mind I think of Dear Mrs. Bird as light histfic and Yours Cheerfully as cozy histfic if that makes sense! What I’m trying to communicate is that I see a different degree of war intensity between the two books, but they are both upbeat and charming in tone.

Main Character: I admire Emmeline as the protagonist. I like a series that follows one character (as opposed to other series that rotate the protagonist of each story). We notice Emmeline’s growth as a competent and confident columnist, observe as she’s challenged by the unfairness of women’s work conditions, and cheer for her actions and involvement. Although Emmy has a fiance, the romance is not a main focus of the story.

Thoughtful themes include women supporting women, women and the War effort, women’s working conditions and equal wages, friendship, influence of news media on current issues, making a difference, and wartime romance.

Recommended: I’m warmly recommending Yours Cheerfully (and Dear Mrs. Bird) for readers looking for light, inspirational, and heartwarming WW11 historical fiction (closed door romance, no profanity, no graphic violence), for fans of fiesty and independent female protagonists, and for book clubs. I think I enjoyed Yours Cheerfully a bit more than Dear Mrs. Bird but that could be because I’ve become familiar with the characters, the setting, and the author. I’m definitely looking forward to more books in the Emmy Lake series!

My Rating:  3.5 (rounded to 4) Stars

twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-star

Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce (cover) Image: 2 young women sit on a low wall reading one newspaper

Yours Cheerfully Information Here

Meet the Author, A.J. Pearce

Author A.J. PearceAJ Pearce grew up in Hampshire, England. She studied at the University of Sussex and Northwestern University. A chance discovery of a 1939 women’s magazine became the inspiration for her international bestseller, Dear Mrs. Bird, the first novel in The Emmy Lake Chronicles series. She lives in the south of England.

 

 



QOTD:

Is Yours Cheerfully on your TBR or have you read it?



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

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