The Great Escape From Woodlands Nursing Home [Book Review]

January 15, 2021

The Great Escape From Woodlands Nursing Home by Joanna Nell

The Great Escape From Woodland Nursing Home by Joanna Nell (cover) Image: text on white background....images of a tree, a barking dog, a bench, and a large bird flying from the tree above text

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Humor, Friendship

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Hattie Bloom is eighty-nine and she prefers birds to people and loves living alone in her small (although decrepit) home surrounded by her trees, plants, and feathered friends. Hattie is especially worried about an owl nest in a tree that the neighbors want to cut down. While climbing the tree, Hattie falls and ends up in a nursing home for rehab. She doesn’t adjust well to her new environment and entertains ideas of escape. Harold is another resident of the home that also dreams of escape. Hattie and Harold meet at the Night Owls social hour organized by a beloved nurse who desires to provide services for the residents who have a difficult time sleeping at night. Hattie and Howard join forces in unsuspecting ways.

My Thoughts:

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The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

January 14, 2021

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor
#throwbackthursday

the Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Jazel Gaynor (cover) Image: a woman looks out over a landscape which includes a lighthouse

Genre/Categories: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Life

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 eager to share my review of the compelling The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor.a story of strong independent women.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Inspired by true events, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter shares the story of Grace Darling, an extraordinary young woman who helps her father keep the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands off the coast of northeast England. One day in 1838 during a furious storm, Grace and her father rescue nine shipwreck survivors. Grace gains notoriety and finds herself the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. The dear friendship that develops between Grace and one of the survivors and the survivor’s brother continues to impact lives 100 years later.

In 1938 at another lighthouse in Newport, Rhode Island, nineteen year old Matilda is sent away from Ireland in disgrace to live with a distant relative who happens to be an assistant lighthouse keeper. As Matilda stumbles upon an old chest containing artifacts from her family history, she uncovers the story of Grace and the connections Grace has to Matilda’s great-great-grandmother. Although Matilda’s part of the story is pure fiction, the hurricane that hits the east coast of the U.S. in 1938 is historic.

Author, Hazel Gaynor, creates strong connections between two time periods and two story lines including hurricane events of 1838 and 1938, complex connections between past and present family members, and lighthouse themes between the stories.

Even the brave were once afraid. The sum of generations of strong, courageous women who came before her, an echo of them all lingering in her soul.

Continue here for my full review of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter or is it on your TBR?
Have you read other books by Hazel Gaynor?

[Reblog] Most Memorable Reads of 2020 #TopTenTuesday

December 29, 2020

2020 Memorable Reads:
The Top Ten List and The Categories

Most Memorable Reads of 2020 (Image: a colorful banner, confetti, and colorful baloons)

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Read in 2020

Top Ten Tuesday (winter) graphic

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

I mostly love the angst of creating top ten lists! Although it can be a daunting task, it’s my most anticipated post of the year! First, let me remind you that this list is subjective. It’s compiled of books I’ve read this year (there are always so many more great ones that I didn’t get to), and each one has made it onto this list because reading it was a memorable, emotional experience and gave me a “book hangover.”

I’m presenting my list this year in two formats: in list form and in categories. The categories part is a bit more comprehensive because I provided some runners up. Titles are links to my reviews or Amazon affiliate links. Although most titles in this post were published this year, a couple were not.

Thanks for sharing great reads with me this year!

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Top Ten Memorable Fiction Reads of 2020

(see categories below for runners up and additional selections)

1

 The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

2

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

3

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

4

All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny

5

 The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

6

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

7

 Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly

8

 The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

9

 The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin

10

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Most Memorable Nonfiction

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9-11 by Garrett M. Graff

The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah



* * * * * BONUS *****

(more…)

The Map of Salt and Stars [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

December 31, 2020

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
#throwbackthursday

The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar (cover)

Genre/Categories: Fiction, Mythology, Folk Tale, Magical Realism, Coming of Age, Syrian, Story Within a Story

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 eager to share my review of the compelling The Map of Salt and Stars.a page-turning story with two inspirational female protagonists.

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 Map of Salt and Stars is really two stories. One story is contemporary and the other is a mythological folk tale that takes place 800 years earlier. In the contemporary story, Nour’s mother, a Syrian-American, a cartographer and painter of beautiful maps, decides to move Nour and her sisters from New York City back to Syria after the death of Nour’s father. The mother feels a strong desire to live closer to her family. After they arrive in Syria, they experience effects of the civil war evidenced by protests and shelling in their quiet neighborhood. When a shell destroys Nour’s home and neighborhood, she and her family and a close family friend of her father’s are forced to flee as refugees across seven countries of the Middle East and North Africa in search of safety.

The story within the story is a favorite folk tale that Nour’s father told her over and over again as a young girl. Nour loves the main character in the folk tale, Rawiya, who becomes an apprentice to al-Idrisi, commissioned by King Roger II of Sicily to create a map of the region. Rawiya follows al-Idrisi on a journey across the Middle East and the north of Africa where they encounter a mythical beast and fight epic battles.

There are strong connections between the two stories as Nour and her family are forced from their home to travel the identical route that Rawiya traveled eight hundred years earlier. Throughout the journey, Nour remembers and is inspired by the heroine of her favorite folktale as she faces similar challenges and fears.

“I am a woman and a warrior,” Rawiya said, her blade cutting into his club.
If you think I can’t be both, you’ve been lied to.

Continue here for my full review of The Map of Salt and Stars ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Map of Salt and Stars or is it on your TBR?

Most Memorable Reads of 2020 #TopTenTuesday

December 29, 2020

2020 Memorable Reads:
The Top Ten List and The Categories

Most Memorable Reads of 2020 (Image: a colorful banner, confetti, and colorful baloons)

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Read in 2020

Top Ten Tuesday (winter) graphic

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

I mostly love the angst of creating top ten lists! Although it can be a daunting task, it’s my most anticipated post of the year! First, let me remind you that this list is subjective. It’s compiled of books I’ve read this year (there are always so many more great ones that I didn’t get to), and each one has made it onto this list because reading it was a memorable, emotional experience and gave me a “book hangover.”

I’m presenting my list this year in two formats: in list form and in categories. The categories part is a bit more comprehensive because I provided some runners up. Titles are links to my reviews or Amazon affiliate links. Although most titles in this post were published this year, a couple were not.

Thanks for sharing great reads with me this year!

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Top Ten Memorable Fiction Reads of 2020

(see categories below for runners up and additional selections)

1

 The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

2

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

3

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

4

All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny

5

 The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

6

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

7

 Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly

8

 The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

9

 The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin

10

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Most Memorable Nonfiction

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9-11 by Garrett M. Graff

The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah



* * * * * BONUS *****

(more…)

The Girl With the Louding Voice [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

December 24, 2020

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
#throwbackthursday

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

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Nigeria, Oppression, Women’s Rights, Education

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 eager to share my review of the compelling The  Girl With the Louding Voice…a message of hope and encouragement to girls worldwide who are dreaming and striving to use their own Louding Voices.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“Life for a woman is not easy in Nigeria. Adunni’s mom plants the thought of having a “voice” in her spirit. Fourteen-year-old Adunni is determined to fight for her voice to be heard and for her future despite being sold as a third wife. Even when she runs away, she finds herself in another powerless position of servitude. Adunni is introduced to a more modern woman who befriends her and encourages her to keep hope alive and to think of herself as important and having value.

“Tomorrow will be better than today. I have value and I’m important.”

Continue here for my full review of The Girl With the Louding Voice ….



QOTD:

Have you read Girl With the Louding Voice or is it on your TBR?

The Choice: Embrace the Possible [Book Review] #NonFicNov

November 27, 2020

The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger
#NonFicNov

The Choicde by Dr. Edith Eva Eger (cover) Image: black text on white background, a black stemed coral colored flower decorates the left border

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, WW11, Holocaust, Mental Health, Jewish, Self Help, Psychology

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Edith Eger and her family were taken to Auschwitz when Edith was sixteen. Her mother and father were killed shortly after they arrived. Edith and her sister survived. In this memoir, Edith recounts her experiences and her mental health journey. Her practice as a psychologist later in life focuses on PTSD. Edith weaves her own stories together with case studies from her practice to talk about healing, forgiveness, and freedom from the prison of the mind.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

November 19, 2020

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
#throwbackthursday

the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (cover) Image: purple and blue text on a light background with two small figures walking and a road in the distance

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 popular The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce…a reflection on life.

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 this well-loved story…

“Harold Fry is recently retired and lives in a small English village with his wife. After a long marriage, they have their differences but have settled into an amicable, predictable, and manageable daily routine. One day, a letter arrives for Harold from a woman (former co worker) that he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie is writing from a hospice to say goodbye. In the process of mailing his reply, Harold decides that he must deliver his message in person and decides to walk. As Harold impulsively sets out on his quest, he figures out the logistics of the six hundred mile journey as he goes. On the way he meets interesting people, finds plenty of time to reflect back on his life, and confronts some unsettling thoughts and feelings that he has buried.”

Shoe held together with duct tape

Continue here for my full review of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry or is it on your TBR?

A Place For Us [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

November 4, 2020

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
#throwbackthursday

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza (cover) Image: black text over a white moon behind a house in silhouette

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 A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza…a thoughtful and complicated family drama.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

My Summary:

A Place For Us shares the story of an Indian-American Muslim family whom we meet as they gather to celebrate a family wedding. Through flashbacks, readers are filled in on the family dynamics, family history, and become acquainted with the parents, Rafiq and Layla, and their three children, Hadia, Huda, and Amar. Told mostly from the perspectives of Layla, Hadia, and Amar, readers begin to appreciate the complexity of family relationships, understand the bonds that draw the family together, and become acquainted with the personalities along with the insecurities and rivalries that cause conflict. In light of the parents’ conservative Muslim faith and living in California, the children must find their way in reconciling the faith of their parents and their traditional ways with the reality of day-to-day lives, and individual hopes and dreams. At the wedding of the oldest daughter, which breaks with tradition and is a union of love and not arranged by parents, Amar, the prodigal son, reunites with his family for the first time in three years. The last part of the story is told from the father’s heartfelt perspective. This is a story of love, identity, parenting, coming of age, faith, and belonging.”

“Of all my mistakes the greatest, the most dangerous, was not emphasizing the mercy of God.”  ~Rafiq

A Place For Us is my favorite read of 2018, and you can find my full review here….



QOTD:

Have you read A Place For Us or is it on your TBR?

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?